A letting agent took thousands of pounds in rent she should have paid to the landlord, a court heard yesterday.

Samantha Wood, 46, took the money after suffering business problems, Bradford Crown Court was told.

Wood, of James Street, Thornton, Bradford, admitted fraud and was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Prosecutor Ewan McLachlan said she operated a property-letting business, CS Lettings. Mr McLachlan said Angela Speight was the landlord of eight properties involved in the case.

He said it was initially professional and friendly between the defendant and the landlord.

But at the end of December 2012, Mrs Speight made checks and realised some of the rental was missing.

The landlord contacted Wood but she was vague about the missing money.

Mr McLachlan said: “It is not possible to be precise about the figures but somewhere in the region of £25,000 had gone missing.”

Wood told police she thought the figure was less and was using the money from Peter to pay Paul because of financial difficulties.

Wood’s solicitor advocate, Tom Rushbrooke, said her partner had left, causing financial problems and she had now been declared bankrupt.

Judge John Potter told Wood: “You were challenged about this and were vague in your responses and told a number of untruths.

“In due course it was clear money had been siphoned by you because your own business was in financial difficulty.

“I am told you made no money from it. You were effectively trying to keep your letting agency going.”

Judge Potter said it was a systematic fraud over a significant period involving a substantial amount of money.

But the judge said references had spoken very highly of Wood, she had no previous convictions, had significant health issues and was the sole carer of her young son. He also ordered her to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for the community.