A WOMAN accused of stealing a four-figure sum from her employer has walked free from court after the prosecution offered “no evidence” on the scheduled day of trial.

Louise Ward, 37, was alleged to have taken £3,882 during a period when she was the in-house accountant/secretary for Rosedale Utilities Ltd, of Chilton Industrial Estate, Chilton, near Ferryhill, between November 1, 2015, and April 1, 2017.

She denied a charge of theft from her employer at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court on July 24, claiming that she believed she was entitled to the money.

Her counsel, John Turner, confirmed she did receive the sum of money, but said she claimed that it was down to a verbal agreement with one of her employers.

Mr Turner said the amount involved was agreed between the prosecution and defence, adding that it would be a case of calling co-directors of the company to give evidence, at the trial, scheduled for this week.

It was subsequently transferred to Newcastle Crown Court, where, following legal discussion at the start of proceedings, before a jury was sworn, Chris Wood, for the Crown, said as there was “no realistic prospect of a conviction”, the prosecution would offer “no evidence”.

Recorder Jonathan Sandiford, therefore, recorded a formal not guilty verdict and discharged the defendant, of Tyne View, Gateshead.