A RECEPTIONIST at a Ribble Valley hotel pocketed deposits paid by customers paid for restaurant and reservation bookings.

Blackburn magistrates heard management at the Mytton Fold Farm Hotel near Langho faced the embarrassment of asking clients to show evidence that they had paid a portion of the bill up front.

Sarah Walker, 35, of Colthirst Drive, Clitheroe, pleaded guilty to theft by employee.

She was fined £276 with £85 costs and £32 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £240 compensation.

Alex Mann, prosecuting, said management said the impact on the hotel was huge.

They said guests needed to feel confident that their bookings were secure and the offences had done the hotel’s reputation no good at all.

“The staff have had to embarrass guests by asking for proof of the deposit being paid,” said Mrs Mann.