AN East Lancashire business is bouncing back after a member of staff stole so much money that it was forced to close.

Office worker Melanie Hill was employed in 2009 by Neil Pope at NP Electrical, in Knowsley Road West, Blackburn, the firm he had run for more than 30 years.

For seven months between 2010 and 2011 she overpaid herself an extra £1,000 a month and used company funds to pay for treats for herself and her dog plus a holiday abroad.

At Burnley Crown Court last month Mrs Hill admitted stealing £9,000 and received a suspended jail sentence.

Mr Pope is now trading again as NP Electrical (Lancs) Limited. He said: “When Mel joined us she appeared to fit in well. However, things started to get tough. No matter how hard we worked, there just didn’t seem to be quite enough money at the end of the month.”

Mr Pope said payments to suppliers were delayed, he often went without a wage and remortgaged his house.

The company had to downsize and Mrs Hill handed in her resignation. Shortly after her deception was discovered.

Mr Pope said he was glad to have revived the business but Hill’s actions have left some permanent damage.

He said: “Even after she finally admitted it she has made no attempt to ever say sorry. Whether we can ever trust people in the same way again, we don’t know.

“Mel’s actions will have a lasting legacy on us.”