Spaghetti hoops con artist from village near Kettering jailed

He claimed he was a genuine guy - but scammed countless people online

Friday, 16th April 2021, 8:00 am

A Broughton con artist who sent one victim a tin of spaghetti hoops instead of the iPhone they had bought has been locked up.

Luke Skinner, 27, used Gumtree and Facebook to offer items for sale and took cash from countless people before not sending the items he had advertised, despite claiming he was a 'genuine guy'.

But after reports to police forces around the country he admitted eight charges of fraud, asking magistrates to also take 24 other offences he admitted into consideration.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Northampton Magistrates' Court

And earlier this month JPs sitting in Northampton jailed him for a total of 40 weeks, saying 'no other sentence could be justified'.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “Luke Skinner spent so much time and effort on repeatedly scamming people, one after the other, by promising them goods they had bought from him online and never delivering the products.

“On one occasion, in a thoughtless attempt at evading detection, he sent a box containing a tin of spaghetti hoops, to make the weight show correctly on the packaging label as appearing to be similar to that of the iPhone X the customer had bought.

“We hope Skinner spends time in prison reflecting on his actions in order to come out with a desire to make money in an honest way.”

One of Skinner's victims was 41-year-old dad-of-four Mark West, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent. He had posted an advert of Gumtree because he was looking for some laminate flooring for an extension built for his disabled daughter.

Skinner, of Carter Avenue, 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 brazen attempts to convince him that he was a genuine seller.

Skinner added him on Facebook, sent him a picture of his real driving licence and even video-called his victim.

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

Magistrates told Skinner he would also have to pay compensation for each of the 32 offences before the court - with a total bill of £7,657.75.

Compensation amounts ranged from £47 over a games console scam to £650 for a con involving an iPhone X.

Healthcare support worker Mark said he was pleased Skinner had been jailed but that he doesn't hold out much hope of getting his money back.

He said: "For however long he is in prison, he won't be able to scam people.

"I hope he learns his lesson and is going to be rehabilitated so he doesn't come out and do it again."