A WOMAN working for an internet estate agent pocketed £5,000 after brokering a house sale.

Blackburn magistrates heard Claire Louise Ainsworth told the seller one price and the buyer another and kept the difference which was paid in cash.

Ainsworth, 35, of New Lane, Oswaldtwistle, pleaded not guilty to fraud by false representation but was convicted in her absence when she failed to turn up on the day of the trial. She was sent on bail to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on February 24.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said Ainsworth had been acting as an estate agent for an online agency. She told the owner of a property the buyer was willing to pay £80,000.

She then told the buyer a price of £85,000 had been agreed which was to be paid £80,000 on line and £5,000 in cash.

"She retained the £5,000 and that is the fraud," said Mr Robinson.

Paolo Passerini , defending, initially applied for the case to be reopened and the conviction set aside.

He said on the day of the trial his client had been in hospital with her child who had suddenly been taken ill.

He said she had contacted the court and had been waiting for a new trial date.

"The offence is denied but the defence has to concede it is Crown Court material," said Mr Passerini.