A RIPLEY woman sobbed as a court heard how she stole almost £1,400 from her employers in a desperate bid to pay her bills.
Jacqui-Anne Talbot, 38, was working as an administrator for Metmachex Engineering in Alfreton when she committed fraud.
Chesterfield magistrates that her standard of work dropped and she quit the company in March.
An accountant then discovered that two cheques in the amounts of £950 and £445 had been cashed by her.
Talbot had fabricated company letters authorising her to withdraw the money, said Becky Mahon, prosecuting.
“She flatly denied any involvement, even after police had taken out handwriting analysis at a cost of £800.
“On the third interview she admitted the offence, saying she was short of money and used it to pay her council tax,” added Ms Mahon.
Talbot, of Moseley Street, admitted committing fraud last September 24. She had previously been cautioned by police in 2003 for a similar offence of deception.
Ms Mahon said Talbot had signed cheques and letters on that occasion to obtain pension money relating to a deceased pensioner.
Presiding magistrate David Blackburn ordered her to do 80 hours unpaid work and pay £1,395 compensation, with £85 costs.
Denney Lau, for Talbot, said she struggled to pay bills after a lodger moved out of her mortgaged property.
“She tried to cut her costs and make ends meet but she wasn’t earning enough. Bailiffs were knocking on her door on a regular basis.
“She left the company in February and she had been living in fear every single day until police finally came to her door and arrested her for this offence in July,” said Mr Lau, adding that Talbot had found a similar job elsewhere.
Probation officer Hannah Quigley told the court: “She says she took money from work in desperation. She now has a payment plan with a mortgage company. She has a heart murmur.”