Online auctioning site eBay has taken down the listing of a Cambridge University student who put himself up for sale to pay his expensive tuition fees. Some £2,000 in debt and with tuition fees totalling £12,600, Dean Robinson from Leicester needed the sale to get him through higher education.

The 25-year-old's auction was titled "Sponsor & employ a Cambridge postgrad student. Go on. Invest in the education of this brilliant man today", and the text explained how he needed the cash to fund his diploma in computer science.

He described how he wanted to sell himself, "into proper, respectable employment, mind - no funny stuff".

"Yes, you could be the proud benefactor to, and employer of, a Cambridge University graduate for an entire year (negotiable) and all that is asked for in return is the aforementioned financial backing. I would even work for a cut-down rate during the employment phase. It's a win-win situation," he said.

Premature removal

But after being viewed 1,500 times, eBay removed Robinson's auction and sent him an email which said: "Your listing breached eBay's No Item policy and has been removed... You may not list intangible items or items whose existence cannot be verified, such as ghosts, souls or spirits."

The student said, "[The ban is] completely pedantic and draconian and presumably sent by some jobsworth. You only need a dash of common sense and discretion to see that it's fun and very real. It's publicity for them as much as anyone. I hadn't had any bids, but it was building up a head of steam when they sent me the letter saying it's been removed."

The starting bid was set at £12,603.33 - enough to pay for his tuition fees and the commission to eBay for hosting the auction.