A trusted shop worker stole lottery scratch cards worth £13,000 from employers who "thought a lot of" her, a court heard.
South Tyneside woman Joy Grant was a valued member of staff at the family-run convenience store when she started stealing.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 26-year-old mum-of-four “fell into temptation” when left alone while working alone and took over £13,000 worth of cards over a 19-month period.
Grant, of Foxhomes, Jarrow, pleaded guilty to theft from employer.
Recorder Margia Mostafa told her: “You worked for the owners of a local convenience store.
“They had known you for many years and trusted you and their employment of you was based on that trust.
“On occasions you would be left alone and you would use the scratch cards and take the winnings if there were any and pay for those cards.
“But if not you discarded or put the scratch cards back in the pile.”
One of the owners noticed irregularities with the cards and also found four or five of them hidden under the till.
She became suspicious and checked the CCTV.
Recorder Mostafa said: “What it showed, much to her surprise, was you tearing off cards one after the other.
“You were taking large amounts of them and you would see whether there were any winnings on the tickets.
“She checked the CCTV again and you could be seen again doing that.”
Police were called to the Temp Shop convenience store, in Ryton, near Gateshead, and Grant initially denied any wrongdoing before admitting it in court.
The judge said the offences had had an impact on the shop owners.
She said: “They trusted you, they loved you, they thought a lot of you.
“They are now suffering financially as a result of what you have done.”
Recorder Mostafa added: “It’s said you can’t explain why you had committed this crime but you were pregnant at the time and recognise that is no excuse.
“It started with you taking one or two cards and escalated and you got carried away.
“You are described as remorseful.”
The court heard Grant has four children aged between one and nine and currently works as a customer support supervisor.
She was given 12 months suspended for two years with 150-hours unpaid work and must pay £5,000 compensation at £200 a month.
Gavin Doig, defending, said: “There was only any money when the card was a winning card.
“She was not keeping count of it but it was not £13,000 or the lottery would go bust. £13,000 is the loss to the company.
“She fell into temptation when working alone in the business.
“She began to steal, it was not spotted then she continued to steal.
“Most of the cards were losing cards.
“She was able to keep her tenancy and could afford a newer car.
“The defendant is remorseful for what she did. She let people down and is ashamed of that.
“This is a young woman with an awful lot to lose. She should have thought about that at the time.”