Sussex computer hacker jailed for online fraud scam

image caption, Alistair Peckover asked for 50 other offences to be taken into consideration

A 21-year-old computer hacker has been jailed for 20 months for carrying out a complex online fraud which netted him tens of thousands of pounds.

Alistair Peckover, 21, of London Road, Hailsham, East Sussex, bought luxury items and more than £30,000 worth of gold bullion with the proceeds.

He was sentenced at Southend Crown Court after pleading guilty to two fraud charges at an earlier hearing.

Peckover asked for 50 other offences to be taken into consideration.

Sussex Police said Peckover used sophisticated computer programmes, some he had written himself, to remotely view files of other computers.

He then used the information, including credit card details, to buy gifts for himself and loved ones.

Peckover also used the stolen identities to open gambling accounts with Ladbrokes and SkyBet.

The 21-year-old received a suspended prison sentence in June 2009 for hacking into bookmaking sites to make a large profit for himself.

Sussex Police said just two months later he was illegally accessing the BT Openzone wireless network to get details of people's email accounts and their passwords.

Detectives seized a Porsche, £40,000 in cash, gold bullion, a Breitling and a Rolex watch, six computers and passports in three names from Peckover's home.

image caption, Police seized a total of £40,000 on Sterling and Euros

Det Con Des Hamilton said: "This is a classic example of a self-taught, obsessive loner with real computer skills but no concern for his impact on other people."

"Peckover used his skills to systematically defraud legitimate online businesses and unsuspecting members of the public.

"He was caught time and again but seemed completely uncaring about others.

"We hope that this sentence will help him use his obvious talents for more honest activity. Computer-based crime is not victimless."

He added: "The message for genuine computer users is to routinely check the security you hold on your home computers.

"Importantly, do not download something unless you are certain that it is safe. This is how these hackers access your computer."