A TRADER who advertised PlayStation 5 equipment that did not exist for sale has been sentenced after admitting fraud and money laundering.

Bradley David Lawrence, of Peabody Hill in London, advertised a PS5 console and equipment that did not really exist on social media platform Twitter (now X) in December 2020.

The conman set up an online bank account to receive funds and tricked a Stourbridge consumer into paying for it twice.

Once in receipt of the funds, Lawrence claimed the goods had been posted but failed to provide any proof. He then blocked all communications with the would-be buyer.

It was at this stage that Dudley’s Trading Standards team at Dudley Council became involved. The team investigated the scam, discovering there were also other victims.

It was noted that as soon as funds were received by Lawrence, they were then transferred to his normal bank account and withdrawn.

Following guilty pleas, Lawrence appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court on  Wednesday January 3 2024 for sentencing, and he was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £1,080 in compensation to the consumer and £500 towards court costs, both within 12 months.

Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards at Dudley Council, said: “We have once again shown that we will not hesitate to investigate and act against fraudsters and it is good to see this individual facing the strong arm of the law over his despicable behaviour."

He added: “Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent traders who operate online, which is why we recommend choosing a reputable retailer. If something looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.”

People can report issues of concern to Dudley's Trading Standards team via Dudley Council's website.