A WOMAN was caught red-handed on CCTV stealing from her employers and close friends after she pocketed their cash.

Grandmother Carol Hathaway, 65, took the money while working for Pontypool Automatics, a family business based in New Inn supplying fruit machines, pool tables and juke boxes.

A judge told her that she had failed to resist temptation.

She pleaded guilty on the day of her trial before a jury was sworn to the theft of £40, £60 and £100.

The defendant, of Coity Terrace, Forgeside, Blaenavon committed the offences between August 7 and August 28, 2019.

The thefts were captured on CCTV, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Nik Strobl, prosecuting, said: “I think it is correct and fair to say that the victims and the defendant before these events were very friendly and they trusted her fully.

“This thus of course has hurt them greatly.”

Hathaway had no previous convictions.

Cat Jones, representing her, said: “This is a defendant of clean character who has never been before the court before.

“She has worked her entire adult life in a variety of roles since the age of 15, initially in a factory.

“More recent roles have involved some responsibility in handling cash without anything that has previously sullied her name before these incidents took place in 2019.

“She's now eligible for retirement, but she's actually still in work. She works part-time for 25 hours a week in a local office and is the main breadwinner for her household.

“The defendant lives together with her 78-year-old husband and he is not in the best of health.”

The court was told Hathaway has eight grandchildren and that she has paid nearly £7,000 in contributions to her legal aid.

“The conviction is in itself a punishment given the background and the circumstances of this defendant,” her barrister added.

“It will impact her good standing in the community, it will impact her confidence and it will be effectively something that she carries with her for the rest of her life.”

The judge, Recorder Andrew Hammond, told Hathaway: “I think these were opportunistic thefts in that you could not resist the temptation when it presented itself to you.

“There were nevertheless three of them on separate occasions.

“They involve the breach of a high degree of trust and responsibility, given the role in which you were employed and given the circumstances of your friendship.”

She was sentenced to a 12-month community order and must carry out 60 hours of unpaid work.

Hathaway has to pay £1,200 towards prosecution costs and £200 compensation to her victims.