A landlady from St Albans has been jailed for using fake eviction notices to get rid of tenants in Essex.

Mother-of-four Dawn Webb, of Lavender Crescent, broke down in tears as a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court imposed a 44-week sentence on her.

The 49-year-old had denied but was found guilty by a jury after a trial in July of two offences of committing fraud by false representation on December, 29 2011 relating to properties in Harwich, and Walton-on-the-Naze, both in Essex. The court was told she had used fake interim possession orders.

Paul Walsh, 48, of Goosley Lane, East Ham, who is currently serving a 12-year sentence for conspiracy to rob and robbery imposed on 4 July at Snaresbrook Crown Court, was also given 44 weeks, to run concurrently with his existing term.

As he passed sentence Recorder Malcolm Davis-White QC told Webb: "This was planned and executed. It was a nasty offence and a serious one."

He said the date of December 29 was deliberately chosen when it would be difficult for the tenants to get proper advice, and they were told they would be evicted within 24 hours.

The judge added that Webb's attitude towards her tenants, who owed her about £1,000 each in rent, was that "they were a disgrace and these people deserved what they got".

Both sets of tenants were suspicious however and the plan failed.

Walsh, who worked as a bailiff for estate agents and solicitors, handed Webb a genuine Barnet County Court interim possession order, stamped and signed by a judge, which she then doctored. 

Webb also pleaded guilty to failing to attend court on the first day of her trial and was given an extra two days' custody.

She was in breach of a three-year conditional discharge, imposed in 2010 for a £16,000 benefit fraud, but the judge took no action on that.

Mitigating for Webb, barrister Nicola May said her children were aged 14 to 20. She was going through a divorce at the time and under financial stress.

The court heard that a genuine court order would have cost Webb about £600.

Miss May said Webb suffered from a crumbling spine following a car accident and was due to have her spine fused.