He sold people's virtual items, such as potions, weapons and cooking equipment, on auction sites and forums to raise between £2,500 and £3,000. The game's developer Jagex spent 1,000 man hours addressing customer complaints. Burrell admitted two charges relating to unauthorised computer access.
Prosecutor Russell Tyner said Burrell also hoped to "gain kudos" through his online thefts. Burrell had been cautioned in July 2012 by Yorkshire Police in relation to compromising a Facebook account of a Jagex employee. Defending Burrell, Stuart Jeffery said his client used the fantasy world to try and deal with problems in the real world.
"It is clear he did not consider the long-term consequences because that world was not real."
District Judge Tim Daber sentenced Burrell, from Northamtpon, to a 12-month community order with supervision and 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £100 costs and told to forfeit his two computers.