A Leicestershire accountant has narrowly avoided jail after stealing more than £26,000 from café chain Délifrance.

The company, which has its UK headquarters in Wigston, Leicestershire, employed financial accountant Emma Hoy in 2012.

Over a three-year period, she then made illegal payments into her own bank account, using the log in details of a colleague. 

Hoy paid herself £26,680 in total, into a bank account under the name of her partner.

She made up fictitious business names based on her partner’s surname, and then got the payments countersigned by other employees, who had no way of knowing the payees were made up.

At Leicester Crown Court last week, Hoy was told by Judge Ebraham Mooncey said: "I’m thoroughly disappointed you could behave in the manner you did.”

…For the sake of your two sons you will not get the custodial sentence which you richly deserve."

He told Hoy to continue paying Delifrance back, which she has been doing for the past three months.

Trust to repay

Mooncey said: "It’s a huge amount of money and I’m going to trust you to repay Délifrance."

Hoy, who pleaded guilty to fraud, was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. She was also given 12 months’ supervision by the probation service and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.