Fraudulent travel agent who pretended to have cancer jailed for nine years

Crooked travel agent Lyne Barlow who lied to people including close family that she had cancer while conning more than 1,400 customers has been jailed for nine years.

The mother-of-two, formerly of Stanley, County Durham, previously admitted theft, fraud and money laundering charges totalling £1.2m at Durham Crown Court.

Jailing the 39-year-old on Friday, Judge Jo Kidd told Barlow she had “an extraordinary talent for dishonesty” after hearing that she had stolen more than £500,000 from her own mother following the death of her father in 2015.

She sold luxury holidays at knock-down prices but was funding the sales in a ponzi-style scheme by bringing in new customers to fund existing ones.

Durham Police said she tricked victims, including her close relatives, into believing she had cancer as a means to deflect complaints when people contacted her about missing booking references.