A DISHONEST book-keeper who stole £37,000 from a well-established Bradford company wept in the dock as she was spared an immediate jail term.

Emma Frampton syphoned off money from metal finishing company Yorkshire Plating Services to pay into two accounts, including one she set up using her family's names, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Managing director Stephen Middow told the court in a victim personal statement: "It took me 30 years to build up the company and she took 18 months to bring it to its knees."

Frampton, 39, of Farfield Grove, Wibsey, Bradford, pleaded guilty to theft from her employer, between October 15, 2012, and February 22 this year.

Prosecutor Kathryn Stuckey said Mr Middow had built up the firm, based at the Alma Works on Sticker Lane, Cutler Heights, from when he was in his early 20s. It employed seven shop floor workers and made an annual profit of around £60,000.

Frampton began working for the company as a self-employed book-keeper in March 2012, on the recommendation of Mr Middow's God-daughter who was previously in the post.

She was paid more than £900 a month for 24 hours a week, Miss Stuckey said.

In February this year, the firm's accountants told Mr Middow of "significant overpayments" by Frampton into her own work account and almost £10,000 syphoned off into an account she had set up, called IGS Services.

The court heard IGS Services was made from the names of her family.

In all, almost £37,000 was missing from the company.

Frampton, who was on holiday, texted Mr Middow to apologise and ask for a meeting with him.

She said she had let everyone down and would "repay every penny."

Frampton's lorry driver husband knew nothing about her dishonesty, the court heard.

She had stolen more than half of the firm's annual profit but had not spent it funding a lavish lifestyle. Instead, the stolen cash went on paying bills, family essentials and Christmas presents, as she was struggling with a long-standing debt and behind with the mortgage payments.

Anne-Marie Hutton, Frampton's solicitor advocate, said the case had taken its toll on her client physically and mentally.

She had "no means whatsoever".

She was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a probation service activity requirement and a six month electrically monitored curfew, from 9pm until 7am.

Judge Colin Burn said: "It is a tragedy for your family; a tragedy for you and, without doubt, a tragedy for Mr Middow and his family."

A timetable was set for a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.