A British holidaymaker's family who is allegedly facing the death penalty in Egypt was swindled out of $19,000 by men posing as lawyers who said they can help free her.

Laura Plummer, 33, was apparently fleeced by two men who turned up at her cell and offered to help her after she was arrested for bringing Tramadol painkillers into the country.

But the fraudster allegedly demanded $19,000 up front before dropping her case, said the Daily Mail.

A source at Hurghada resort's prosecutor's office told The Sun: "The tricksters conned the British lady and her family her when they were desperate for help.

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"They promised her they would get her out of jail and fight the charges but demanded a down-payment of around $19,000.

"Egyptians wary of this kind of scam would never have parted with money until after a court hearing, but this lady was vulnerable and thought it was the right thing to do."

The MailOnline has contacted her family for a comment.

It comes as her sister, Jayne Synclair, 40, said Ms Plummer is being held in a 15ft by 15ft cell with 'murderers, heroin addicts and prostitutes' and was being 'kicked and kicked' until the leader of the cell intervened.

Ms Plummer, from Hull, brought the medicine into the country to give to her Egyptian boyfriend Omar, who suffers from severe back and arm pain after being in a car crash a few years ago.

Laura Plummer's Egyptian boyfriend Omar suffers from back problems, which Mrs Plummer claims was the reason she brought the tablets to Egypt. Photo / Facebook
Laura Plummer's Egyptian boyfriend Omar suffers from back problems, which Mrs Plummer claims was the reason she brought the tablets to Egypt. Photo / Facebook

But the drug, which is available in the UK on prescription, is banned in Egypt and sometimes used as a heroin substitute.

Ms Plummer has claimed she was forced to sign a 38-page Arabic confession before being locked in a tiny cell with dozens of other women.

Ms Synclair said her sister is "naive and child-like" and "didn't even check what the drugs were".

Speaking to the Mirror, Ms Synclair said: 'Her life is in danger. We went out to see her last week and my mum collapsed at the sight of her. She looked over at us and said 'mum, mum, please help me, help me'. It was horrendous.

'We are quite a glamorous family and she looked absolutely shocking. Her hair has fallen out and she has a really bad ear infection which has caused her whole face and neck to swell.

"She can't stay in there any longer or she will be murdered or kill herself."

Ms Plummer was arrested after flying in to a Red Sea beach resort for a break with Omar.

She claims she was recommended the pills - of which she was carrying 29 strips, each containing ten tablets which has a "street value" of $44 - by a colleague when discussing Omar's consistent pain.

Her mother Roberta Synclair, 63, believes Mrs Plummer is being prosecuted for drug trafficking but told The Sun: 'She had no idea she was doing anything wrong.

"The painkillers were placed at the top of her suitcase, she wasn't hiding them.

"We've been told she's facing either 25 years in prison or the death penalty. We're beside ourselves worrying that they'll make an example of her.

"She's gone through the worst pain imaginable - she's going through hell.

"I've been out twice to see her and going out again so I can see her on Thursday."

Mrs Plummer was held for five hours at the airport with no interpreter.

She then signed a statement she believed would allow her to leave.

Mrs Plummer is said to still be wearing the same clothes she flew out in and was handcuffed to a gun-wielding policeman when she first appeared in court. She is due to appear in the dock again on Thursday.

Her mother claimed she looked 'dead behind the eyes' and repeatedly begged for help as she faced judges.

Laura is being held in a 15ft by 15ft cell with 25 other women with her family spending $19,000 on legal bills.

But she was stopped at the airport as she jetted in for a fortnight stay with Omar - who she sees four times per year.

The last text message sent by the shop keeper was to her father, Neville, and said: 'I'm in trouble and I need your help.'

Tramadol is prescription-only in the UK and a pill is worth 8pm, which means Mrs Plummer could have only made a maximum of $44 if she had intended to sell them.

The Foreign Office confirmed they are assisting a British national in Egypt.