Jonathan Waugh, 52, was told his actions were “disgusting and depraved” as he was jailed for 12 months after a judge heard how for a year visiting couples had their most intimate moments recorded at his 19th century seaside cottage in the popular resort.
Waugh, who told police he had been addicted to pornography for more than 30 years, set up covert recording equipment in the main bedroom of the cottage.
The former broadcasting engineer would then play the images he had obtained of his guests back to himself on a widescreen television at the cottage he also owned opposite.
York Crown Court heard the discovery of the surveillance-type equipment, disguised as an alarm clock, was made by a guest, who was staying at the holiday home with his wife and two children, who had gone to bed during the day after becoming ill.
The court was told he and his wife were reported to have felt violated after discovering they had been filmed, and their relationship had suffered as a result of Waugh’s actions.
Richard Gent, prosecuting, told the court Waugh would check it was couples who would be using the main bedroom before setting up the device, which worked on a motion sensor.
He would then meet and greet his guests in person when they arrived at the cottage and direct them up to the bedroom.
The guest who discovered the ruse was booked into the cottage with his family between November 7 and 11 last year.
During the stay, Mr Gent said, the husband was taken ill and retired to bed. While he was lying under the covers, he noticed an unusual feature on the alarm clock next to the bed, and after examining it found a covert memory card installed inside.
He went straight to the police station and reported it to officers.
The court was told that when questioned about the recording device, Waugh made admissions that he had been addicted to pornography since his 20s.
He told officers that he had paid £600 for the specialist equipment that he ordered on the internet and had used it to record couples in bed for 13 months between October 2010 and November last year.
He added he had also updated the equipment, which could record in the dark, with a larger memory card and watched the resulting visual and audio recordings for his own sexual gratification.
Rupert Dodswell, mitigating, said Waugh had voluntarily been seeking treatment for his problems.
Waugh, of Huddersfield, had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of voyeurism before sentencing at York Crown Court on Tuesday.
He also asked the court to take into consideration six further offences of installing recording devices and six of making recordings.
Recorder David Bradshaw ordered Waugh to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and made him the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the same period.
Previous guests staying at Waugh’s holiday cottage had left a number of comments on websites it was advertised on, praising it as “a joy to stay in”.
Another added the owner had made them feel very welcome and said Waugh had “gone that extra mile” to ensure their comfort during their stay in Whitby.
One comment, posted online following a stay in July 2011, praised the holiday cottage for its amenities.
The reviewer adds: “The owner has gone that extra mile to ensure this property is a joy to stay in. Well done sir.”
Another comment, written following a stay in April 2011, read: “A lovely comfortable cottage, ideally placed to explore Whitby on foot.
“We were made very welcome by the owners on arrival.”
Another comment, written by a previous guest from September 2010, reads: “The owner Jon is great. He really goes the extra mile to make everything just right.”
“The property was in a good location and easy access to Whitby centre, we never used the car once we got there.
“Property was clean and the beds were fantastic.”
“The owner greeted us on arrival and talked us through everything we needed to know which was lovely,” added another, dated May 2010.