A FRAUDSTER has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after taking more than £30,000 from her employer.

Jayne Gregory transferred a total £32,370.15 from the Essexcare Southern Ltd to her personal bank account between June 2011 and September 2012, Winchester Crown Court heard.

The family-run concrete, sawing and drilling company then went into liquidation with a loss of “seven or eight” jobs, although the court heard it did already have cash flow problems.

Gregory, 40, of College Lane, Ellisfield, was in the dock for sentence after a jury unanimously found her guilty of fraud after a five-day trial in April.

The court heard that Gregory, who also went by her maiden name of Drinkwater, had been jailed for 18 months in 2010 for a similar fraud in which she took £30,000 from her employer.

It was while working at Halfords in Farnham, Surrey, after her release, that she met Robin and Adrian Upfold, the father-and-son directors of Essexcare Southern Ltd, which is based in Bordon.

In her sentencing remarks, Judge Susan Evans said they were impressed with her “efficiency and obvious intelligence” and offered her a job to work at their company.

She said Gregory then “deliberately manoeuvred” herself into a position in the company where she was in sole control of the company’s accounts, and she made “multiple transactions” to her personal account.

Gregory also invented a trail of emails and correspondence about the possible sale of the company, the court heard, before her fraud was uncovered.

Ross Cohen, defending, said his client was sorry for Robin Upfold, a man in his late 70s, who the court heard suffered financially and emotionally from the fraud.

He added any spell of imprisonment would separate her from her two teenage children and her husband, and added that Gregory had battled cancer and kidney problems in recent years.

Passing sentence, the judge told Gregory she was “selfish and dishonest”.

She added: “You have little regard for the lives you have affected. I’m told you are remorseful. I’m afraid I find that difficult to accept in fighting this charge, and making Robin Upfold give evidence.”