The head cashier of a solicitors firm who stole £165,000 from the company handed herself in because she was ‘overwhelmed’ by what she had done, a court heard, as she was jailed for 14 months.
Judge John Warner said Pauline Sutcliffe had ‘breached the trust’ of her bosses and the clients of Stables and Co Solicitors .
The business, which had practices in Rowley Regis, Halesowen and Stourbridge, closed in April 2012 after all three partners were declared bankrupt.
Sutcliffe handed herself in to police for fear of being found out in the weeks after the firm closed but prosecutors claimed her theft would have gone unnoticed had she not admitted her crime.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard Sutcliffe, who was head cashier at the Halesowen branch, was in control of cash paid into the firm by clients.
But instead of paying the full cash amount into the firm’s accounts, Sutcliffe would skim off a small proportion for herself.
False ledgers were then submitted to cover her tracks, the court heard yesterday.
Sutcliffe, aged 58, of Wolverhampton Road, Oldbury, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to stealing from the firm between April 1, 2001 and December 31, 2010.
Miss Joanne Barker, prosecuting, said: “No-one had a clue what she was doing and they trusted her.”