A fraudster who tricked private landlords - and those who had signed tenancy agreements with them - out of huge amounts of money has been given a four-year prison sentence.

Elliot Wilson conned landlords in the north of England into thinking that his bogus letting firm could provide them with high rates of rent, but he was taking much of the cash.

Money from tenants' deposits was also regularly pocketed by the conman, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Mr Wilson, who is 29 years old, conducted his crimes in the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds areas, but also established a business base in London.

According to the newspaper, Judge Henry Globe QC said in court: "Your offending was substantial, sustained and serious with a number of victims, involving a large total loss."

He called the defendant's activity "sophisticated in its execution"and suggested "there was evidence of high-living and there were offences committed while on bail".

Another issue affecting private landlords lately is that of tenants setting up so-called cannabis factories in properties, where huge volumes of the drug are grown in rented houses.

Tenant credit checks may filter out undesirable tenants - and landlords should ensure they follow up references to ensure their customers can be trusted to look after their properties.

Written by Claire Doyle

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