A Croydon letting agent has been jailed for keeping more than £15,000 in client deposits.

Thirugnanaselvam Damayantharan operated from See Own Properties in Airport House, Purley, and My Lawn Estates in Lawnsdowne Road, where he pocketed money for six years.

Thirugnanaselvam, of Demesne Road, Wallington, did not create the tenancies promised or return deposits to prospective tenants.

More than 33 transactions were made to him for properties in Croydon and beyond.

He was found guilty at Croydon Crown Court, after victims provided evidence of deposits being held.

Judge Gower told Damayantharan: “The court heard evidence from more than a dozen prospective tenants, all painted a similar picture. 

“You were quick and efficient at relieving them of their money, if necessary by driving them, there and then, to cashpoint machines. Some have spoken of being made to feel rushed.

“Thereafter, they found it increasingly difficult to make contact with you, as the time for commencing the tenancy in their home grew ever nearer. A variety of different excuses were put forward by you as to why they were not able to move in.

“Only one prospective tenant managed to get back the whole deposit, but it took a considerable time and a great deal of persistence. The majority got nothing.

“The way you operated was thoroughly dishonest.”

Thirugnanaselvam has been sentenced to 19 months in prison.

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