AN administration assistant who stole more than £780,000 from a plastics firm and spent it on luxury holidays, cars and handbags has been told she will only have to pay back £1.

Preston Crown Court heard how 51-year-old Kathryn Jones had taken £600,000 for herself from MGS Technical Plastics Limited between January 2011 and November 2016, leaving the company in dire straits.

The company also had to fork out £100,000 in professional fees as Jones’ offending only came to light after payment discrepancies were identified by accountants.

That led to a full audit where it was revealed Jones transferred large sums of money to her bank accounts. She tried to cover up the anomalies by saying she was paying sub-contractors.

Judge Robert Altham concluded that Jones, who is now going through bankruptcy proceedings, benefited from her crime to the tune of £644,000 but now only had realisable assets of £1.

Jones, who was jailed for 28 months in August 2018 for the crime after pleading guilty to two charges of theft, was given one day to come up with the sum.

The prosecution will look to see if Jones has any further realisable assets at the end of her bankruptcy proceedings.

Jones’ co-defendant Beryl Ann Shore, 62, who admitted to stealing almost £200,000 from MGS, was ordered to hand over £3,199 she had remaining in her Santander bank account.

The court heard Jones, of Sough Road, Darwen, had given former MGS customer service manager, Shore, an initial loan of £500 from the company accounts.

She continued to approve unauthorised payments, which eventually amounted to £184,654.

Shore, of Kirkdale Close, Darwen, had expected the money to be deducted from her monthly salary but it never was.

Although Shore had never asked for more than the initial loan it was the prosecution’s case that she was complicit in the theft because she did nothing to stop the extra £184,000 being paid into her account.

The court heard how Jones was an administration assistant and was in charge of paying wages to staff, making transfers, standing orders and had responsibility of the company’s internet banking.

She paid herself batches of money, including the sum of £18,000 after an audit review was carried out between April 2015 and March 2016.