Teenager sold fake holidays


Sheriff Court

By Paul Thornton

A TEENAGER pocketed over £8,000 in just three months by selling non-existent luxury holidays on eBay.

Nathan Hudson copied and pasted genuine holiday deals from legitimate travel firms before putting them up for auction on the popular website.

Hudson was just 19 years old when he started his scam and managed to con £8,129 out of holiday makers before his negative feedback alerted people.

He was tracked down after giving his “customers” his email and bank details so they could pay him.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court he admitted 14 charges of fraud.

The court heard how Hudson, now 25, worked from an internet café in Edinburgh’s Leith Walk and made the hefty sum during 2003 and 2004.

He offered people breaks to London, Paris and New York, among other glitzy destinations before demanding payment.

But fiscal depute Melanie Ward said: “These holidays did not exist and Hudson was not in a position to sell or auction them.

“He would go into legitimate holiday websites and copy and paste holiday details and then slightly amend the cost to suit.

“A number of people logged onto eBay and bought these holidays – of course the tickets never arrived.”

The scam was rumbled when eBay users complained in the “feedback” section of the website.

And his identity was revealed when he gave people his bank account details and email address to organise payments.

Miss Ward added: “It was not a very sophisticated fraud.”

Hudson made a full confession to police when they interviewed him about the con but did not turn up to court for his trial.

But he was convicted of similar offences in Leeds Magistrate Court and his lawyer, Duncan Hughes, said Hudson got in touch because he wanted to resolve all his matters before his release date later this year.

He was brought to Scotland and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Mr Hughes added that Hudson had started the scam because he was short of money and that £4,000 of his ill-gotten gains had been frozen.

Sheriff Alistair Noble deferred sentence on Hudson, from East Yorkshire, until later this month.

He continues to be held at HMP Saughton over the Leeds Magistrate Court conviction.