A BIRKENHEAD woman who stole nearly £60,000 while working for Liverpool's Marriott Hotel has been jailed for 14 months.

Alexandra Tinton stole the money from the hotel's petty cash float over a five year period and used her knowledge of the hotel's systems to cover her tracks.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Tinton had joined the Swallow Hotel as a casual bar worker in 1998 and became a full time financial assistant in 2004 working in a four strong team.

The hotel, on Queen’s Square, was taken over by the Marriott Group the following year.

Arthur Gibson, prosecuting, said 37-year-old Tinton was “well liked within the hotel and was in a position of trust” and she “manipulated then petty cash system so she could steal cash without there being any anomalies”.

She was caught out after a finance manager from London came to Liverpool to cover for a colleague and noticed “abnormal adjustments” made under Tinton's employee number.

Tinton was given several chances to explain what had happened but went off sick instead and was eventually suspended before resigning for “family reasons”.

Mr Gibson said that a full audit found she had stolen £59,022 through 256 fraudulent transactions. When arrested she admitted stealing the cash and spending it on clothes, food shopping and horse riding lessons.

When quizzed she said she had hated working at the hotel, had been “living a lie” for a long time and was sorry for what she had done.

Tinton, a mother-of-one, of Park Road North, Birkenhead, admitted theft and false accounting.

Paul Davison, defending, said she had had a difficult childhood with a lack of cash and wanted her own daughter, now 17, to have better lifestyle than her £10,000 a year salary could afford.

She admitted being greedy but now has nothing to show for it.

She said four holidays she had taken during the period of dishonesty had only partially been paid for out of the stolen money.

Mr Davison said she had since lost a job working in a casino after her employers saw a story about the case in a newspaper and her chances of finding similar work are “virtually nil”.

Jailing her Judge Graham Morrow, QC, said, “In the face of mounting evidence you finally admitted what you had done.

"You did not voluntarily cease your criminal activity. You were found out.”