Factory worker sentenced for his part in Gumtree fraud

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Archant

A factory worker has been given a community order for his involvement in a scam targeting Gumtree customers.

Darren Broomfield, 32, appeared before Bury St Edmunds magistrates on Monday, admitting he let his NatWest bank account be used to receive £3,570 from seven different Gumtree fraud victims in February and March 2014.

In each case, victims had paid for items advertised on Gumtree but then never received any products in return.

The court was told Broomfield, of no fixed abode as he works away but who supplied an address of Hanmer Walk, in Bury, was approached and asked to let his account be used.

“As seems to be quite common with these Gumtree frauds, the perpetrator of the fraud approaches a third party who isn’t involved in the conspiracy and offers them a quick return if they will allow their bank accounts to be used,” said defence counsel Michael Whatley.

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“It seems to be accepted by the prosecution for two reasons, firstly the charge that’s been made and secondly the summary where they seem satisfied with Mr Broomfield’s explanation that he presented a believable story.”

The court heard seven different payments for items including a Canon camera and a GoPro camera were sent to Broomfield’s account with none of the victims receiving anything in return. Broomfield kept a third of all the money paid into his account.

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The victims went to Action Fraud who in turn reported it to police.

The court heard Broomfield was out of work at the time of the frauds in 2014 but had now found work as a factory worker.

The court heard investigations centred around the Thetford area and the investigation had been “complex and protracted” because each individual account had to be scrutinised.

NatWest has since closed the account for fraudulent activity.

Broomfield had previous convictions but the last was in 2012. A probation report carried out on Monday found there had been a “change in his behaviour” since his previous conviction, with the officer finding he was able to “steer himself away from further trouble”.

Magistrates went with probation’s recommendation that the father-of-three was subject to a community order for nine months, with a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 10 days.

He must also repay the full amount taken from the victims, despite only receiving a third of it himself.

The compensation was added to prosecution costs of £85 and a £60 victim surcharge, totalling £3,715.

The charge Broomfield admitted to was “being concerned in the retention of criminal property”.

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