A woman from County Durham has been sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars after she duped families out of thousands of pounds by selling caravan holidays that did not exist.
45-year-old Kirsty Sheldon from Newton Aycliffe spent months across 2017 and 2018 selling the breaks to static caravans in Northumberland.
While some were able to check in without any problems, ten families turned up to find other people already using the caravans they were due to stay in. During that period, Sheldon also persuaded a businessman to give her cash to allow her to buy goods to sell, but she never purchased any items.
Durham Crown Court heard that the loans amounted to over £98,000 and the double-bookings for the holidays came to a total of roughly £4,200 - leaving families out of pocket and completely devastated.
Sheldon admitted fraud and possession of criminal property at a previous hearing at the court.
Detective Constable Ali Blackett, of Durham Constabulary’s Economic Fraud Unit, said: "Sheldon has brought misery to a number of families by tricking them out of their money.
“This is a heartless crime and Sheldon took advantage of hardworking people, some of them will be affected by this for the rest of their lives. Hopefully this sends out a message that this kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable."
For fraud advice or to report a suspected fraud, visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.