A woman who was behind a sub-letting scam involving Croydon properties has been jailed for more than four years.

Rose Chimuka, 32, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison after she was found guilty of eleven counts of fraud by false representation.

The scam, linked to six addresses across south London between August 2009 and June 2011, involved Chimuka using a false name to approach estate agents.

She would tell them she was looking for a large home to rent for her and her family.Chimuka of Hinchcliff, Peterborough, would also enquire about schools with the agents and claim her husband worked away.

When a suitable property was found she would rent the property on the basis of it being for her and her family.

She would then sub-divide the houses, putting locks on internal doors before sub-letting the property out- to up to 15 people in some cases.

Chimuka would collect rent money in cash from her 'tenants' and fail to pay her own rent for the properties she was renting.

When the real owners and landlords attended their properties, they found large number of people living in their houses without their knowledge.

The scam was carried out at six addresses which included properties in Northampton Road, Croydon; Grange Park Road, Thornton Heath; Green Lane, Norbury; Sydenham Road, Norwood and Penwortham Road, Streatham.

DC Lee Haslett of Croydon CID said: "This was an elaborate fraud and Chimuka was very calculating in committing this crime.

She would go from place to place, sub-letting the properties and collecting cash from her 'tenants' until the real landlord found out what was going on; at which point she would move onto a new area and property and repeat the process.

"The fact Chimuka carried out this ruse on numerous occasions showed she had clear intentions to defraud her victims- both the landlords and owners of the properties and the people who believed they were her legitimate tenants."