A credit controller working at one of the top hotels in the North-east was able to steal more than £23,000 over a year-and-a-half.
Tracey Walker, who was employed at the Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, on the outskirts of Durham, made more than 100 bogus refunds to customers, with the money being paid on to her own credit card, Durham Crown Court heard.
She started stealing after her marriage broke up and she began drinking heavily, the court was told.
The 41-year-old, from Fence Houses, near Sunderland, admitted theft of £23,825 between December, 2005, and July, last year.
Stephen Orange, prosecuting, said: "Hotel managers were unhappy with her work in connection with a sales ledger and she received a written warning in April 2007, before resigning in July, rather than face a disciplinary hearing.
"It was only after she left, the bank noticed seven suspicious transactions in the last month of her employment totalling £1,299."
Walker was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
The judge, recorder Simon Brown, said: "One of the more worrying aspects of the case was the lack of apparent control the hotel had over its finances."
The Ramside, which is a four-star hotel, with 80 rooms, each costing up to £275 a night, did not comment on the case.
By Nigel Green
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