A YOUNG mother who duped friends and family into paying £16,000 for holidays that were never booked has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Barrhead Travel worker Amanda Stewart was sacked after taking the five-figure sum from friends and relatives.

The 26-year-old said she was able to get "discounted holidays at low rates".

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But in fact the mother of two, of Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, worked for the company as a marketing assistant and was not authorised to book breaks for people she knew.

Tony Callahan, defending, told Sheriff William Ireland at Paisley Sheriff Court that Stewart "had booked a number of holidays for close family and friends".

The lawyer said she was then asked if she could book a hen weekend for her cousin, but some of the women were unable to pay their deposits. "She was taking money from one person to pay for someone else."

Stewart earlier pleaded guilty to creating a fraudulent scheme involving 11 customers. Mr Callahan stressed that Stewart, who lost her job, never made any money from her antics. Sheriff Ireland placed her on a one-year Community Payback Order, telling her to complete 200 hours' unpaid work.