An "utterly despicable" con artist who fabricated stories about seriously ill relatives to receive money has been jailed.

Sherene Simmons, 32, turned up unexpectedly at her victim's doorstep, often in the early hours of the morning pleading for help and money to visit a sick relative in hospital.

In one case, she claimed that her mother had suffered a heart attack and she needed to borrow money so she and her family could get to the hospital and visit her.

Simmons, of Dalmally Road, Croydon, promised to give the money back, but failed to do so.

Having previously pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud by false representation at Camberwell Magistrates Court in May, she was sentenced to 15 months in Jail at Croydon Crown Court on July 16.

The court heard she targeted homes in Addiscombe, Ashburton, Croham and Shirley, typically asking for between £40 and £60.

Detective Constable Scott Barefoot, from Croydon CID, said: "Simmons preyed on the goodwill of her victims to con them out of money, when they thought she was in real need.

"The judge described her crimes as 'utterly despicable' and it is an apt description of what she has done. I hope the fact that she will now be behind bars for a significant amount of time will give her victims some comfort."