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Man swindled people out of hundreds – by pretending to sell them goods on Gumtree

Aberdeen Sheriff Court
Aberdeen Sheriff Court

A charity worker who was jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from vulnerable pensioners has admitted concocting a fraudulent scheme while out on licence.

Philip Muirhead was locked up for two and a half years in 2013 after he squandered cash he stole from his clients on a holiday to Cuba and a new car.

He had been working as an advocate at a support centre at Royal Cornhill Hospital at the time.

But after being released on licence, the 39-year-old went back to his old ways.

Yesterday, he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted swindling more people out of money between February and April 2015.

The court heard on this occasion he had contacted people using the online site Gumtree pretending to have goods for sale.

However after he received the money, almost £500, he failed to send on the purchases.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin deferred sentence on the 39-year-old for background reports to be carried out.

He will return to court next month.

A Gumtree spokeswoman said: “Gumtree is committed to tackling scams like this one and educating people about how to avoid them. If you have any doubts about a potential buyer, walk away and seek our advice before deciding to go through with the sale.

“Our dedicated advice page on how to spot a scam can be found on our website and we encourage anyone that thinks they may have come across a scam to report it to us immediately.

“Our dedicated safety team can investigate and take action such as blocking the offender from the site and aid the police in their investigation. We are constantly working closely with the police and other authorities to ensure all our users have as safe an experience as possible.”

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