Post boss spared jail

PUBLISHED: 05:54 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:41 24 May 2010

THE former manageress of a Worle post office who stole more than £14,000 from her employer has been spared jail. Karen Santo took the money while she worked at the post office at the North Worle Retail Centre, off Queens Way, and spent most of it on mortg

THE former manageress of a Worle post office who stole more than £14,000 from her employer has been spared jail.Karen Santo took the money while she worked at the post office at the North Worle Retail Centre, off Queens Way, and spent most of it on mortgage repayments.The 48-year-old, of Jubilee Road, Weston, who admitted one charge of theft, was rumbled when an internal audit at the post office revealed the cash was missing.She was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community when she appeared to be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.Richard Cole, prosecuting, said Santo had started work as a manageress at the post office in December 2003 and stole the £14,700 between May 1, 2005 and May 19 this year.He told the court: "In May 2006 an audit was carried out and a shortage of just over £16,000 was discovered."She left the office during the audit and didn't return. She sent a message to the manager to say that she had got herself into trouble and panicked and didn't know what to do."She was arrested and told officers she had been taking money on a regular basis since May 2005 and had taken £14,700. She said the rest was deficiencies," said Mr Cole.He said that since her arrest Santo had paid the Royal Mail back the entire sum.George Threlfall, defending, told how his client had got into financial difficulty when she lent a friend £35,000 following the sale of a property and the repayments had been erratic.He said Santo claimed she had not taken the money for anything specific however a lot of it had been spent on mortgage repayments.Sentencing Santo on Monday, Recorder Mr Michael Longman told her she had committed a 'serious breach of trust'.He said: "You stole a large sum of money over a period of months."This is too serious for a community sentence. There has to be a sentence of custody but I'm willing to suspend it because of your guilty plea, your previous good character and because you have repaid the money," he added.

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