Fuller’s Quality Bakers in Yorkshire was nearly bankrputed by an employee, who stole almost £12,000, a court has found.

Beverley Peniston admitted four charges of theft between July 2007 and December 2008 at Hull Crown Court, which heard she began working for the company in 1999, receiving cash from its nine retail outlets in the area and checking the amounts against till receipts.

Owner George Fuller noticed the business was becoming less profitable and had been injecting cash from his personal savings account. He discovered Peniston had been entering lower figures and pocketing the difference on 57 different occasions, and estimated he would have been bankrupt by mid-2009 if the thefts had not been detected.

Peniston admitted taking the cash, but said she did not know why she had taken it or what she had spent the money on.

The honorary recorder of Hull and the East Riding, Judge Michael Mettyear, adjourned the case to allow Peniston to repay the full amount to the business.

Peniston, of Pasture Road, Goole, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made subject of a non-monitored curfew between 11pm and 7am for three months.