Lancashire TelegraphEast Lancs office worker in £9,000 pay theft (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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East Lancs office worker in £9,000 pay theft

Lancashire Telegraph: Thief Melanie Hill, seen here with her dog Thief Melanie Hill, seen here with her dog

AN OFFICE worker stole more than £9,000 from her trusting boss to pay for hotels, concert tickets and sportswear.

Burnley Crown court heard that Melanie Hill, of Bridge Street, Rishton, ‘over-paid’ herself, adding an extra £1,000 to her salary each month.

Mrs Hill also used company money to pay for a holiday abroad as well as other treats such as a Blackburn Rovers T-shirt with her name emblazoned on the reverse.

She pleaded guilty to eight charges of theft on the day of her trial, having firstly denied it all.

The 39-year-old was hired in 2009 by NP Electricals, a small family-run contractors, in Knowsley Road West, and was entrusted with payroll duties and company credit cards and cash.

Nick Courtney, prosecuting, said: “From November 2010 to May 2011, Mrs Hill manipulated the payroll accounts to give herself an additional salary. Her bank statements from the time show that her personal account was regularly over-drawn and in those circumstances, she would pay into her daughter’s account so that the money she was stealing was not swallowed up by her overdraft.

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“Mrs Hill claims she was struggling financially after her husband lost his job in 2010, but she did not spend this money on necessities, instead she used it to pay for hotel bookings, concert tickets, trips to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, mobile phones, sportswear and even treats for her dog.”

The court heard NP Electricals was in financial difficulty when Mrs Hill was hired. Owner Neil Pope had re-mortgaged his home to invest £20,000 to try to keep the firm he had been running for 30 years alive.

Mr Courtney said although the firm had financial difficulty, Mrs Hill contributed to it being forced to cease trading.

The prosecution argued Mrs Hill was not experienced enough to do payroll and that she had ‘suffered enough’ in the three years it took to come to trial.

Kenneth Hind, prosecuting, said: “This has not been easy for Mrs Hill. She has had to move back home with her mother and come clean to her family, friends and her daughter. Her marriage broke down and she is truly remorseful for what she did.”

Judge Simon Newall gave a 16-month term, suspended for 18 months and 180 hours community service.

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