A WOMAN who stole from the agricultural supply company she was trusted to oversee accounts for, has been ordered to pay £25,935 in compensation to the business.

Sherril Cockburn received a 24-month community order, with 15 probation activity days and was placed on a six-month 8pm to 7am home curfew, at Durham Crown Court, on September 28.

She previously admitted theft by employee, having been initially accused of stealing £43,098.83, from ML Tallentire feed merchants, of Butterknowle, near Bishop Auckland, between August, 2015, and February, 2017.

The now 59-year-old defendant, of Toft Hill, near Bishop Auckland, denied the charge at her first appearance, last July, but a week later returned to crown court and changed her plea to guilty.

It related to pre-signed business cheques, intended to pay suppliers, which she paid into her husband’s account.

Matters came to light when a supplier contacted the business to say none of his bills had been paid for several months and suspicion fell on Cockburn.

After Proceeds of Crime inquiries, she returned to court where a benefit figure from her activities was agreed at £34,194, but her realisable assets were put at £25,935.

Judge Christopher Prince ordered her to pay the £25,935 in compensation within three months, or risk up to 12 months in prison, in default of payment.