A 36-YEAR-OLD woman appeared before Blackburn magistrates charged with stealing £17,500 from a Whalley company, and its clients.

Keeley Ainsworth, of Audley Close, Nelson, faces 53 charges of theft as an employee of the Stable Trading Company Limited, which was set up as a community interest company.

It grows and produces a range of organic food, and provides employment opportunities for people with earning disabilities, mental health issues, and other individuals who may have been disadvantaged.

Keeley indicated not guilty pleas to all charges and was sent, on bail, to Preston Crown Court, where she will appear on April 1.