A CROOKED financial controller, who cheated a Blackburn firm out of £37,800, has been jailed for 28 months.

Katie Woodfinden, 38, was on a luxury holiday in Spain, paid for by money stolen from Furniture Recycling, when her crimes caught up with her, Preston Crown Court was told.

Her former boss, Nick Oettinger said in a statement to police that Woodfinden’s actions had cost the company a further £200,000 in lost business and had nearly sent the Mill Hill firm to the wall.

Jailing her, Recorder Timothy Harrington said: “This was a serious breach of trust, committed over a significant period of time.

“Your dishonesty resulted in a high degree of harm to the company. It caused a huge financial loss and nearly caused the business to fail.”

Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said the defendant had been appointed as financial controller at Furniture Recycling in November 2016.

In August 2017, Mr Oettinger was informed by one of his suppliers that they had not been paid.

But when the records were checked, it appeared the money had left the Blackburn company’s accounts, the court heard.

An investigation discovered it had been transferred to a separate account, administered by Woodfinden, said Mr Cummings.

Further checks, covering preceding months, showed various amounts, ranging from £2,800 to £4,600, had been transferred in the same way.

When the transfers were discovered, the managing director contacted Woodfinden, who was on holiday in Spain, and she confessed to the thefts.

Sharon Watson, defending, said it was accepted that the last sum taken by her client had been used to pay for a holiday.

But the other sums had been taken to satisfy serious debts she had accrued, the court was told.

“This is something she is very ashamed about. She has previously been a lady of good character,” said Ms Watson.

The court heard that following her arrest and dismissal, Woodfinden had managed to secure fresh employment.

Ms Watson said her new employer was aware of her circumstances and was in court, along with members of the defendant’s family, to offer their support.

Woodfinden, of Tudor Close, Poulton-le-Fylde, who admitted to fraud offencesm will also face a potential Proceeds of Crime Act hearing on November 16.