A woman who defrauded hundreds of customers in an iPad scam worth 450,000 has been jailed.

Kirsty Cox, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, took thousands of orders for the tablet computers between March and December 2012 after claiming she could source them at a reduced price.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 37-year-old was paid for the devices but could not provide them.

Cox, who previously admitted four fraud charges, was jailed for two years.

Judge George Moorhouse said her offending had "caused misery" to children last Christmas after "tricking" their parents into thinking she could supply the presents.

The mother-of-two told people she had a contact who could provide her with iPads for 50 to 100 off the retail price, using her "niceness" to "deceive" customers, the court heard.

Cox's former sister-in-law Karen Kennedy and her husband Saul took cash from work colleagues which they passed on to her.

Mrs Kennedy said: "I had a really close relationship with Kirsty and she had a really good reputation.

"She told me that she could get really cheap iPads and she had been supplying them to loads of companies and she just asked me to spread the word at my work.

"I trusted her 100% and I had no reason not to."

The court heard how on one occasion Cox spent 1.52m on iPads from PC World and then sold them at a loss in a bid to cover her tracks.

BBC News