Two mystery websites which advertised homes in South Shields as hotels have been taken down.
The Gazette revealed last month that a police investigation was launched after Collingwood House – a complex of mostly privately-owned apartments in Harbour View, River Drive – was being advertised as a five-star hotel called Royal Mills and Hotel Suites on a website.
It then emerged that a second ‘hotel’ which does not exist – this time called Glascoville – was also being advertised, with a website claiming it is situated in Long Row, South Shields.
The picture accompanying it appeared to show a row of houses.
Northumbria Police have investigated, and concluded that no criminal offences had taken place.
Both websites have now been removed.
Inquiries were carried out, and no criminal offences were identifiedNorthumbria Police spokesman
The National Trading Standards eCrime Team has also been investigating.
In February, South Tyneside Council advised people to take care when booking accommodation.
A spokesman said: “South Tyneside Council was not aware of the existence of the website, but have now taken action to report it to our national agencies who deal with this type of suspected e-crime.
“We await feedback, but in the interim would urge anyone looking to stay in South Tyneside to go to www.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk
“Anyone who is concerned about the content of a South Tyneside-based website can contact the council’s trading standards team.”
Following an investigation into the ‘hotels’, a Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Inquiries were carried out, and no criminal offences were identified.”
The Gazette also saw an email which was sent out to prospective staff members at Royal Mills Hotel and Suites. The “employment offer” asked for a wide range of personal details including a passport number, address, driver licence number and copies of education certificates.
It also requested a copy of employment letters, including the applicant’s latest salary slip, and a scanned copy of the photo page of their passport.
At the time, a spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Our advice would be never disclose personal details online to a source you do not know or trust.”
A spokesman for the National Trading Standards eCrime Team said it could make no comment on the matter.