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Fake landlord sentenced to six years in prison

An unscrupulous individual pretending to be a private landlord in order to scam more than £10,000 from unsuspecting tenants before going on the run has been sentenced to six years in prison.

James Bennett, 32, listed rooms on Spareroom for rent, taking £725 deposits from househunters and giving them tenancy agreements.

But Bennett had no consent to rent out the rooms in Brixton, Elephant and Castle and Tooting, south London, and was in the process of being evicted.

He committed the offences between late 2015 and December 2016, obtaining more than £10,000.

Many of the victims only found they had been defrauded when they turned up on the agreed day to move in, leaving several homeless, including one individual who had to spend Christmas in a hostel.

The conman was tried and sentenced to six years behind bars in his absence at Inner London Crown Court in December for 17 counts of fraud.

Bennet, who has previous convictions for fraud offences, was finally found by police last week, and given an additional month in jail for failing to appear at court.

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