Byline: Hilary Clixby
VICTIMS of a massive property scam were greeted by the grim sight of burned-out buildings when they finally viewed the house sold to them as an investment opportunity.
Maureen and Philip Patrick sank pounds 25,000 into the buy-to-rent scheme set up by Practical Property Portfolios Ltd after being persuaded their money would be used to buy, renovate and tenant a house on their behalf.
Instead they discovered the premises lying empty in a run-down Wearside street resembling a war-zone - its investment potential so poor it was eventually sold to a housing association for just pounds 2,000. Mr and Mrs Patrick were among hundreds of innocent people duped into handing over their cash to the now wound-up PPP business based on the Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead.
Prosecutors at Newcastle Crown Court said while it was …