Employee jailed after stealing £30k and almost closing family business

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 March 2018

Kelly Marie Ford.

Kelly Marie Ford.


A family-run garage supplier was almost forced to close after one of its employees stole more than £30,000 to buy herself alcohol.

Andy and Cori Taylor with bookkeeper Tina Brooker. Picture: Eleanor YoungAndy and Cori Taylor with bookkeeper Tina Brooker. Picture: Eleanor Young

Kelly Marie Ford, aged 40, has been jailed for three years after stealing £30,447.82 from Auto Workshop Equipment Services where she worked as a bookkeeper.

Ford, of Stiling Close in Highbridge, pleaded guilty to fraud and appeared at Bristol Crown Court for sentencing on February 21.

She started working for the Rooksbridge business in February 2015 and began stealing within days of starting, despite being on a 12-month suspended sentence for defrauding a Midsomer Norton business out of nearly £40,000.

Auto Workshop’s managing director Andy Taylor said he was not aware of Ford’s illegal past before hiring her.

Andy and Cori Taylor with bookkeeper Tina Brooker. Picture: Eleanor YoungAndy and Cori Taylor with bookkeeper Tina Brooker. Picture: Eleanor Young

He said: “She would pay one of our suppliers and then pay the identical amount into her bank account.

“This whole situation has had a detrimental effect on our customer relations, which in some cases we are still working to resolve. The time taken to correct the situation has also affected our ability to move forward.

“Every time we felt we were getting on top of things, another large problem with the accounts would surface.”

Mr Taylor said Ford deleted records of customers who owed the firm £100,000, of which he has managed to claw back only £20,000. The business is contacting customers to get the money back, but he thinks it will take at least a year to put right.

He added: “Kelly’s actions led me to doubt my ability to look after my father-in-law’s business and livelihood.

“She nearly caused our company to close due to cash flow and loss of work, this would have meant at least six people would have lost their jobs and the closure of a well-respected family company.

“It caused much stress and anguish between my wife and myself. This is a family business and family life has suffered as a result of all of this.

“Every employee is treated as part of the family, as was Kelly, these events and the complete breach of trust has hugely affected staff morale.”

Ford received a two-year sentence for the fraud as well as activating her 12-month suspended sentence from 2015, meaning she was jailed for three years in total and ordered to pay £830 in compensation.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

More from Weston Mercury

8 minutes ago

An art exhibition dedicated to anti-bullying will take place in Weston-super-Mare later this year.

Read more

A new theatre show will take Weston by storm as Irish river dancers take to the stage.

Read more

An open day in Worle gave people the chance to have their say on what they would like to see happen and improved where they live.

Read more

A Berrow woman is searching for the family who taught her to walk and talk after she was evacuated to North Somerset in World War Two.

Read more

A kingfisher which suffered a nasty head trauma is set to return to the wild after being treated at a rescue charity.

Read more

The war memorial in Worle has been refurbished in time for the commemoration of World War One in November.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

Weston’s Playhouse will host Fastlove – A Tribute To George Michael, and the Mercury is giving readers a chance to win tickets to see the show.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:42

Emergency crews have freed a man who was trapped in a car after it careered into a stone wall.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

A shortage of telephone equipment and vandalism made headlines in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald 50 years ago. Here is the news from the September 20 edition.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

A new Costa Coffee drive-thru is opening at a service station along the M5.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 8°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists