Alleged Facebook trickster is set for court date

By Nub News Reporter

15th Oct 2023 | Local History

A THOROUGH investigation into reports of victims, including residents from South Ockendon and Grays, falling foul of a social media marketplace scam has seen a Wickford man charged with 18 offences. 

Officers from the Essex Police Economic Crime Team have conducted detailed enquiries into reports received from multiple people across areas in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. 

All complainants told officers they placed items for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

They reported that when the items were collected, money was promised and a bank transfer appeared to take place, but no payment was ever received. 

Following investigations into each report, officers made an arrest. 

Charges, including 17 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of sending a communication conveying a threatening message, have since been authorised against Stephen Stokes, 30, of Arterial Road, Wickford.

He is set to appear at Southend Magistrates' Court on 30 October.

The Essex allegations relate to areas including South Ockendon, Great Notley, Basildon, Rochford, Witham and Grays. 

Officer in the case, DC Gail Wilkinson, of our Economic Crime Unit, said: "While the benefits are many, online shopping and selling carries its own risks. 

"There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you stay safe while selling items online."

Safety advice and information on online shopping can be found here: Crime prevention advice | Essex Police


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