A bogus travel agent who charged at least 13 families for caravan holidays that did not exist has been jailed for eight months.

Jessica Scutt was also ordered to pay £2,575 in compensation to her victims after inventing trips to Welsh coastal resorts on websites including Gumtree.

She used pictures of other people’s caravans and shots of picturesque resorts like Tenby and Pendine in West Wales to entice families.

Scutt charged £220 for a ‘package holiday’ that included free trips to theme parks and a gym membership.

The 27-year-old, of Ynysddu, Caerphilly, South Wales, is said to have preyed on young families who were looking for affordable holidays at home.

She is said to have set up the scam to put down a deposit on a house

Scutt was condemned by chairman of Caerphilly magistrates Ronald Coldbourne, who said her actions were appalling.

‘”These are some of the most despicable cases I have come across for fraud,” he said as Scutt was sentenced on Friday.

Police caught Scutt by tracing an email address she gave to one of her victims.

She is said to have set up the phony travel business so she afford a deposit on a new house after being threatened with eviction by her landlord, the Daily Mail reported.

Prosecuting lawyer Mark Salter described some of Scutt’s victims.

“Five children aged ten, seven, six, two and one were looking forward to their first ever seaside break,” he said.

“Their mother had seen an enticing advert for a week’s caravan holiday for £160 plus a £60 deposit.

“The family did not have a lot of money to spare – £220 was a lot of money to them.

“When they arrived at the camp site the children were left in tears because there was no caravan there for them.

“They had to drive all the way home again.’