Father defends his son jailed for internet scam

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THE father of a Southsea teenager who was jailed for running a multi-million pound crime website has spoken of his son’s difficulties growing up.

Nick Webber, 19, ran Ghostmarket.net, a site where criminals sold credit card details and which offered online tutorials in a range of credit card scams.

The former public schoolboy was sentenced to five years in prison at London’s Southwark Crown Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to fraud charges.

Anthony Webber said his son had spent increasing amounts of time on his computer to escape from reality.

In an interview with a national newspaper he said: ‘He probably would go into his room and get on the computer because that was where he could go into his own world and have control of his life.

‘If you’re an adolescent and start playing computer games, you enter into an unrealistic world. I think this is what has happened with Nicholas. He couldn’t see his victims or the consequences of what he was doing.’

Mr Webber added that because he had separated from Nick’s mother, he wasn’t able to influence his behaviour as much as would have liked.

‘His school report said that he spent too much time on his computer, but I wasn’t told anything about his hacking into the school computer system,’ he said.

‘If I’d been aware, I would have told him how foolish he was being. By the time I found out, it was too late.’

At its peak the website Ghostmarket.net had more than 8,000 users and police believe the details amassed represented a potential loss of more than £12m.

The details of thousands of credit cards were found on Webber’s computer when he was arrested in 2009.