A GREGGS bakery worker has been given a nine-month suspended prison sentence after conning colleagues and her employers out of £2,400 by pretending to have terminal cancer.

Judge Alistair McCallum ordered Mrs Karen Marriott, now 33, to repay the money at the rate of £30 per week at Leeds Crown Court on February 17, after she pleaded guilty to four charges of obtaining money by deception. The court heard that, in January 2001, Mrs Marriott, a confectionery production worker, told Greggs’ human resources manager that she had been diagnosed with terminal leukaemia.

Her working hours were varied and she was given time off to attend what her employer thought were hospital appointments. Greggs allowed her husband, also an employee, leave to spend time with his apparently dying wife.

Meanwhile, colleagues at Greggs’ bakery in Bramley, Leeds, raised £906 from a whip-round, believing it was to pay for a holiday for the young mother, the court heard. And Greggs’ charity committee gave Mrs Marriott another £568 and waived a debt of £259 from an earlier personal loan.

The company also paid her discretionary sick pay, adding another £677 to her income from the deception. Greggs did not ask her to provide medical evidence, even when she went off sick, the court was told.

By June that year, Greggs had heard nothing from her for a while, so they wrote to her but without reply. Mrs Marriott did not turn up to requested meetings and her employment was terminated a month later. Her lies were exposed in late 2002, when one of her former colleagues spotted her in Bradford city centre.

The judge called Mrs Marriott’s lies a “particularly wicked deception” but suspended a nine-month jail sentence for two years because she is in ill health and promised to repay the cash.