A mother-of-three who stole more than £35,000 from a Mytholmroyd firm to fund her addiction to gambling on fruit machines has been ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community.
Bradford Crown Court heard that Kelly Nicholson, 33, of Somerset Road, Pudsey, had already repaid nearly £25,000 to Springhill Water Services after her offending came to light while she was on maternity leave from her job.
Prosecutor Emma Downing said Nicholson, who had previously stolen money from another employer, began making payments into her own bank accounts within a month of starting work at the Mytholmroyd firm in 2013.
Miss Downing said after Nicholson went on maternity leave it became clear that customers had not be paid and inquiries revealed 25 separate payments had been made from the company account into three accounts belonging to the defendant.
Although Nicholson had now repaid £24,200 there was still an outstanding balance of £11,625.88.
During her police interview Nicholson admitted that she had a gambling addiction and she confessed to stealing money from a previous employer, but that was not reported to the police after the firm obtained a charge over her then home.
Nicholson, who is now receiving counselling for her addiction, pleaded guilty to stealing the money from her employer and was made the subject of a 12-month community order which includes the 100 hours unpaid work.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC described the case a a tragedy and said the gambling addiction was an illness.
Lawyer Anthony Sugare, for Nicholson, said gambling had blighted his client’s life.
He said Nicholson was addicted to playing fruit machines in betting shops and she would also gamble online.
The judge declined to make a compensation order against Nicholson, but said the company would be able to take its own steps to recover the outstanding money.