A COUPLE have been jailed after they fleeced a company out of more than £55,000.
Sara Dedman was the trusted bookkeeper for Willstrand Ltd, an Eastleigh-based recycling company.
But she used her position to siphon off thousands of pounds for herself, her partner Tyron Leworthy and colleague Sarah Hocking.
Hocking, an administration assistant, escaped with a community order for her part in the plot.
Between them, the three stole £55,856 from the company, which is owned by Martin Ashworth.
When they were confronted Dedman and Hocking fled the country to Spain.
Hampshire police worked with their European counterparts to ensure the pair returned to face justice.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard mum-of-two Dedman had transferred money to their accounts and forged her boss’s signature on cheques.
Leworthy, who ran an internet company called Gifts and Bargains selling goods from home, received just over £28,000, Dedman £14,000 and Hocking £13,700, between October 2010 and November last year.
The couple used the money to do up their home.
Kelly Brocklehurst, defending Dedman, said: ‘Initially the offending was through what she felt was financial hardship but she accepts that this was no longer the case.’
Leworthy, 34, of Eastoke Avenue, Hayling Island, was jailed for a year after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting fraud, theft and concealing criminal property.
His partner Dedman, 34, of the same address, was jailed for 16 months after confessed to aiding and abetting fraud and concealing criminal property.
Mum-of-one Hocking, 37, of Blendworth Crescent, Havant, received a six-month sentence suspended for a year after pleading guilty to theft and concealing criminal property.
She was told to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing them, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘There’s no doubt that you systematically milked the company of its assets. It was a question of greed.’
After the hearing PC Jonathan Butler, from Waterlooville CID, said: ‘When they were challenged about what they’d done, Dedman and Leworthy left the UK and headed across Europe towards Spain.
Much of our initial work focused on liaising with agencies abroad to try and locate them and bring them back to this country which cost a lot of time and effort in police hours.
‘As a result of our investigation, all three have now been held to account for their actions.’