AN accounts worker stole more than half-a-million pounds from the company she worked for – putting the firm in dire financial straits.

Kathryn Jones who was an accounts administrator for MGS Plastics appeared before Blackburn Magistrates on charged with stealing the money from MGS Technical Plastics, based in Centurion Business Park, Blackburn.

Jones, 49, of Sough Road, Darwen, pleaded guilty to theft of £600,000 from MGS Plastics between January 2011 and January 2016 and theft of £184,000 from the company between the same dates.

She was committed on bail to Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.

Prosecuting, Mike Church-Taylor said: “Mrs Jones has transferred considerable sums of money into her own account and fictitious accounts.”

He said there was a family connection in the case and it was initially decided to deal with the matter without involving the police. They wanted to recover what had been taken from them but when that didn’t come to fruition the matter was reported,” said Mr Church-Taylor.

The court was told that there would be a proceeds of crime proceedings to recover the money stolen.

Director John Sturgess said the firm and its 50 staff had suffered because of the case.

He said: “We have waited a long time for this to get to criminal court.

“The theft has affected many people at MGS.

"Especially when we went through a very quiet time several years ago where we had staff on short time.

“If this very complicated theft, which went on for many years, hadn’t occurred we would have been able to maintain pay and job security for everyone.

“These are honest, hard-working people who suffered due to greed.

“We had people struggling to pay their rent and mortgages.”

* A second woman, aged 60, also appeared in court charged with stealing £184,000 from MGS Plastics. She did not enter a plea and was sent on bail to the Crown Court.