'Genuine guy' from village near Kettering conned victims on Gumtree and Facebook

He's admitted multiple charges of fraud

Monday, 29th March 2021, 8:02 am

A Broughton grifter who claimed he was a 'genuine guy' conned several people into handing over cash in online selling scams.

Luke Skinner even sent one victim a picture of his driving licence with his real address on and video-called them to convince them he was legit.

The 27-year-old used Gumtree and Facebook to either respond to wanted adverts or post adverts of his own, offering items for sale.

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Northampton Magistrates' Court and, inset, the laminate flooring Skinner promised to send.

But after taking cash from his victims he then failed to send the items he had promised, leaving them out of pocket and himself the subject of an investigation after reports to police forces across the country.

Earlier this month at Northampton Magistrates' Court Skinner, of Carter Avenue, pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud by false representation with 24 other offences also admitted and taken into consideration.

One of his victims, 41-year-old Mark West, had posted an advert of Gumtree because he was looking for some laminate flooring for an extension built for his disabled daughter.

Skinner soon answered the advert saying he had some and the pair agreed a deal in April 2019.

Mark handed over payments of £50, £20 and £60 as part of the deal. But the flooring never turned up despite Skinner's attempts to convince his victim that he was a genuine seller.

Mark, a healthcare support worker who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, told this newspaper: "He added me on Facebook and sent me a picture of his driving licence. You would think it was legit.

"He even video-called me on WhatsApp so I could see his face. It was a bit brazen."

In one WhatsApp message Skinner sent he said: "I don't mind sending you over my driving licence and address as I'm a genuine guy."

And in another he said: "I'm a genuine guy and my big brother is a police officer hence why I'd never rip anyone off can add you too had my Facebook 7 years."

Mark offered to travel from Stoke to pick the flooring up - but Skinner said he could get a courier to deliver it for free, claiming he worked for a builders merchants.

He also said he needed it sold as soon as possible as he was 'skint' after spending too much on a bank holiday.

Alarm bells started ringing when Skinner later claimed there was a problem with the courier, so Mark rang the builders merchants the conman claimed he worked for. He said they told him they had never heard of him.

Mark said: "It wasn't a lot of money but we have four children. It's been tight enough as it is and that money could have been used for them."

Laminate flooring was not Skinner's only online scam over the course of 2018 and 2019.

Other charges he admitted included Facebook frauds involving a bicycle (£430.75), guitar cases (£70), a mobile phone (£100), a games console and games (£47) and a wedding postbox (£80). Other Gumtree frauds included offences involving video tapes (£75) and badges (£200).

Skinner was granted unconditional bail and will be sentenced on April 7.