Trusted niece stole £14,000 from uncle's carpet shop in South Shields

Broadway Carpets, South Shields.
Broadway Carpets, South Shields.

A trusted niece stole almost £14,000 from her uncle's carpet shop to blow on online gambling.

Faye Thomas, 29, took six cheques during a visit to Broadway Carpets in South Shields, which is run by her uncle Barry Thomas, and deposited them into her own bank account.

Newcastle Crown Court heard her £13,870 fraud was found out by her father Geoffrey Thomas, who worked as an accountant at the business.

Her actions have caused a devastating family fall out.

Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told the court: "In August last year her father was going through the accounts when he spotted the irregular payments.

"He made inquiries with the bank and found out the cheques had been paid to his daughter's account.

"He was horrified by that. He confronted her and she immediately admitted the fraud to him and also told him she had used the money to gamble."

Thomas was arrested and confessed she had a gambling addiction for a decade but had sought help to overcome it.

Miss Smurthwaite added: "She gambled on online sites.

"She said that she accepted fully what she had done and that the money had gone on the online gambling."

In a victim statement, Barry Thomas, who is a director, said his niece's behaviour had caused a "great deal of stress and anxiety" both within the family and in his business.

Thomas, of Cloverhill Close, Annitsford, North Tyneside, admitted six charges of fraud.

Judge Stephen Earl said: "That is the evil, the fact she took the cheques from her own uncle.

"In family terms, it was pretty abusive.

"She has caused, now, a fall out between her uncle and father, disrespect of the family amongst each other, and for her."

Judge Earl said he accepted Thomas's remorse was real and said her nine month prison term could be suspended for 18 months.

She must abide by a four month, night-time curfew.

Vic Laffey, defending, said Thomas is ashamed of what she has done and has taken steps to stop gambling.

The court heard Thomas has a job and a family and has never been in trouble