A MAN who used the internet and social media sites to sell non-existent holiday rentals and electronic goods on a large scale has been jailed for fraud.  

Lewis Middleton advertised wooden lodges and caravan breaks for rent on well-known websites and social media sites.  

He took deposits of around £200 a time from people who would later find out the accommodation they had booked didn’t exist or wasn’t his to rent out.  

Middleton also offered PlayStation 5 consoles and garden furniture for sale on social media and selling sites, took money from buyers but did not deliver the goods as he also didn’t have them to sell.  

Officers from the Proactive Economic Crime Team from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (YHROCU) investigated the offences, which took place between 2017 and 2022 and identified Middleton as the man behind the scams.  

Financial evidence was examined and it was determined that he had received payments from 565 people totalling £106,685.92.

Middleton, who admitted fraud offences at a previous court hearing appeared before Kingston Upon Hull Crown Court for sentencing last week. 

The 30-year-old, from Hull, was jailed for two and a half years. His victims came from across the United Kingdom.  

Speaking after the sentencing T/Detective Chief Inspector Jon Hodgeon acting head of YHROCU, said: “Middleton defrauded a large volume of people through online trading and social media platforms by not producing the goods people had paid for.

"Victims would sometimes only discover the holidays they’d paid their hard-earned money for didn’t actually exist when they arrived at the destination.”  

“I’m pleased that the scale of his offending has been reflected in the custodial sentence he was given.”  

“I also hope it encourages victims to report this kind of offending as we police do investigate it and we do take action.”