A woman who stole more than £40,000 from a Blackpool doctors surgery has been forced to pay it all back or face another 15 months in prison.
Moira Hall, of St Luke’s Road, South Shore, was jailed for 16 months back in March after admitting three charges of theft from the Glenroyd Medical Centre, where she worked for 33 years.
The 55-year-old has now been ordered to repay the money, plus around £4,000 in interest, to the surgery following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday.
The former practice manager at the GP surgery, which has premises on Whitegate Drive and the Moor Park Health and Wellbeing Centre on Bristol Avenue Bispham, was caught out after accounting discrepancies were noticed back in December 2010.
At her sentencing in March, the court was told Hall inflated petty cash figures to cover up the money she stole.
Judge Heather Lloyd told her: “No business of any moderate size can afford to lose around £40,000 by way of theft.
“I accept you thought you would and could pay the money back, but you didn’t.
“There was a deliberate course of offending over a period of time.
“To steal £40,000 from your employers in your situation, over any period of time, is extremely serious.”
Analysis of the accounts showed 11 items of expenditure of a personal nature. These were largely for flights and hotel rooms totalling £40,417.
Richard Archer, defending, said “She was and is deeply ashamed she succumbed to the temptation because of her financial difficulties.
“There was never a conscious decision to steal from her fellow partners.”
At Tuesday’s hearing, Hall was ordered to repay £44,095.15 within the next six months or face another 15 months behind bars.
The Proceeds of Crime Act aims to cut crime by stripping offenders of their ill-gotten gains. Following this week’s hearing, which saw Moira Hall ordered to repay more than £44,000, a Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Proceeds of Crime legislation is a powerful policing tool and taken very seriously by Lancashire Police. “Anyone looking to fund their lifestyle from crime should take note. “We will track down illegal assets and deprive criminals of their cash and possessions.”