“DESPERATION” led to a Darlington man fraudulently selling mobile phones online to make money, a court heard.

Carl Bravey, 19, of Melville Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation when he appeared before the town’s magistrates’ court today (Tuesday, December 18).

The court heard that on four separate occasions in July, Bravey advertised an iphone for sale on the online trading site Gumtree, but ceased contact with the buyers once they had transferred the money into his account.

He made a total of £950.

Mitigating, Laura Moorby described the fraud as “unsophisticated”, saying that Bravey had used his own details on the Gumtree site which made the crime easily detectable.

She explained that Bravey had recently moved in with his partner and had made a joint application for jobseekers allowance, but delays meant that the couple were without an income for a period.

“These (crimes) were committed purely out of desperation,” said Ms Moorby.

Bravey was given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £950 compensation.