A struck off solicitor who “misled and cheated” his unsuspecting clients has been jailed.

Sri Lankan born Wishwa Ellepola, of Dean Lane, Edgware, pretended to be a solicitor working for DJ Solicitors, a regulated organisation, without the firm's knowledge.

The 63-year-old mainly targeted Sri Lankan nationals seeking legal advice, but was found out when the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)  discovered applications he sent to the Home Office on his 'clients’' behalf.

Passing sentence, Judge Price said: “The terrible thing is that you took advantage of fellow Sri Lankans.

“You told them you were a solicitor, you told them you could help them and didn’t. You prejudiced their chances of staying in the country.

“You said that you had a friend at the Home Office; you told them not to phone the Home Office to protect yourself.

“You misled and cheated them and gave them hope that they would be able to stay. This was a gross breach of trust and the evidence against you is utterly overwhelming.”

Ellepola was sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of illegally providing immigration advice and services.

He was also ordered to pay £3,000 to his victims and costs at Southwark Crown Court on April 16.