A website for a fake university used to scam money from overseas students has been shut down by Suffolk Trading Standards. 

The "College of Suffolk" claimed to be founded in 1990 and located in Queen Street in Ipswich and offered courses in acting, musical theatre, dance and performance. 

Fees for the university were quoted to range between £3,500 to £8,900.

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The website used images of the actual University of Suffolk, based on Ipswich Waterfront, and even had a page promoting the county saying it was home to breweries and famous celebrities such as Framlingham-raised star Ed Sheeran. 

A foreword by college 'President' Dr Stephen Spinks said how the university provided "exciting learning opportunities in business, human resources, accountancy, finance, musical and art - all critical areas for the world of work".

It is the second time a fake college has been foiled by Trading Standards - an identical scam using the same name and information was closed down in 2019. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The course fees at the fake College of SuffolkThe course fees at the fake College of Suffolk (Image: Suffolk Trading Standards)

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Graham Crisp, head of Suffolk Trading Standards, said: "Websites like this can be used to attract students, collect personal information and course fees. They can also be used to sell fake degree certificates.

"It is trying to exploit overseas students unfamiliar with academic establishments and the enrolment process in the UK, something our officers have now thwarted."

East Anglian Daily Times: A welcome from 'President' Dr Stephen SpinksA welcome from 'President' Dr Stephen Spinks (Image: Suffolk Trading Standards)

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities, said: "A degree from a British college or university is an enticing prospect for an overseas student and those behind this were trying to exploit that. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor Andrew ReidCouncillor Andrew Reid (Image: Suffolk County Council)

"Thankfully the vigilance of Suffolk Trading Standards has prevented this website from trying to pick up where it would appear to have previously left off and will not be conning people into paying for non-existent courses."

The website was being run from Hong Kong and while the authority have had no reports of victims in the UK, there may be some overseas. 

Trading Standards says anyone considering applying for college causes can beat degree fraud through the Higher Education Degree Datacheck.