A serial conman convicted of rental scams was sentenced for six years but is still on the run, The Evening Standard reports.
James Bennett (pictured), 32, is now one of the police’s most wanted fraudsters after he duped 17 victims out of £8,000.
The victims would each pay a holding deposit of up to £725 before turning up to find that Bennett had left with their money.
He was jailed in absentia after failing to attend a hearing detailing his offenses.
Adam Clifton, detective sergeant, said: “He makes his living as a fraudster — we have not been able to identify that he has ever had any employment apart from a Saturday job.
“Think of pretty much any form of dishonesty and he has engaged in it. He is undoubtedly one of the Met’s most wanted fraudsters — he is thumbing his nose at the justice system.”
Between late 2015 and December last year he conned 17 people for properties across Brixton, Walworth, Elephant and Castle and Tooting by advertising rooms for rent on Spareroom.com
In each case he was staying at the property and then when in the process of being evicted, would advertise these rooms for rent even though he had no right to.
Bennett made no attempt to hide who he was and when issuing rental contracts, while he used his passport as proof of identity.
Bennett pleaded not guilty but then failed to attend court.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Bennett remains outstanding and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
“He is described as a very tall white man with ginger hair; he is around 6ft 7ins in height.
“He speaks with a slightly ‘posh’ southern English accent, and is known to have connections to south-east London and the Winchester, Plymouth and Bedford areas.”
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to make contact with DS Adam Clifton at Southwark CID on 07747 765719, on 101 or via Twitter @MetCC. To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.