A WOMAN who stole around £35,000 from her employers while working as an accounts clerk has avoided being sent to jail.

Danielle Oddie resorted to theft to try and pay off debts.

Preston Crown Court heard that she used some of the proceeds to buy designer clothes and expensive shoes.

The 24-year-old, of Eden Park, Blackburn was given 12 months jail, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision and an order to do 250 hours unpaid work.

She had pleaded guilty to a charge of theft.

The case related to accounting work she did for a businessman who had Willow House children's nursery in Adlington, near Chorley.

The defendant had stolen sums over an 18 months period.

As a result of what happened, two members of staff did not have their short-term contracts renewed.

Her barrister, Philip Holden, said in some ways it came as something of a relief when the theft was discovered. She had expressed remorse for her crime.

Oddie now had another job and her colleagues were said to speak highly of her.

The judge, Recorder Mark Ainsworth, said the victim was an honest and hard working businessman. The last thing he needed was someone like her abusing their position of trust.

He said he had not for one second forgotten the impact of what she had done but, on balance, he felt the public interest would not be served by sending her to prison.