A POLICE officer working for the Ministry of Defence in Aldermaston has been spared jail after stealing more than £1,500 from her employers.

Stephanie Williams, of Carn View Terrace, Penzance, was gripped by a gambling addiction when she stole the money from the Ministry of Defence.

The 47-year-old, who left school at 16 to join the army, also attempted to steal £25,000 from her employers but this fraud was blocked by the MoD.

Reading Crown Court heard how Williams was working as a police officer in Aldermaston when in 2017 she gained her gambling addiction during a time of “stress and difficulty” in her life.

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Williams ‘made use’ of the Ministry of Defence’s travel and expenses scheme, taking a total of £1,528 for herself.

The Penzance woman also tried to take a further £25,000 but the MoD was able to stop this money from leaving its coffers.

His Honour Judge Paul Dugdale said: “Gambling addiction is a very serious problem and it is one that as a society we still really are yet to get to grips with.

“There is not a great deal of responsibility being taken to the harm and damage it can cause vulnerable people in society.”

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Addressing the defendant, the judge continued: “This is a serious breach of trust.

“You were a police officer with the MoD.

“You were trusted with making these claims and you abused that to fuel your gambling addiction.”

Sentencing, Judge Dugdale handed Williams an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

However, she will have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and take part in up to 20 rehabilitation activity days.

No compensation order was made as the Ministry of Defence has brought a civil case against Williams regarding the money taken.

Williams was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, January 13.