A cleaner who admitted stealing from seven of her clients to pay off debts has been jailed.
Nicola Walker, of Radcliffe Close in Tarvin, pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft by employee and was sentenced to 16 months during a hearing at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 2 April.
A trap was set up to catch Walker by one of her customers after the 50-year-old woman began to suspect she was stealing her jewellery.
The woman placed a ring in the bathroom of her Tarporley home and after Walker had finished cleaning the room she noticed the ring was missing.
She immediately confronted the cleaner who initially denied it but eventually came clean and produced the ring from her pocket.
Walker, 35, told the woman she had stolen her other jewellery and had taken it to a pawn shop in Chester. Both women visited the shop to get her personal items back but they had already been sold. Walker then walked into the local police station and told police what she had done.
In total, Walker is believed to have stolen up to £12,000 worth of jewellery from this particular victim.
Other clients – including two from Tarporely, two from Northwich, one in Chester and one in Frodsham - reported a number of items being stolen from them including jewellery, department store vouchers and money.
Walker is believed to have stolen a total of £30,000 worth of items from one of her customers in Northwich.
Detective Constable Tom Philpotts, of Chester CID, said: “Walker used her self-employed cleaning business as a way to steal from her customers and pay off her debts.
“Her clients brought her into their homes and trusted her to do her job but she took advantage of this and used it as an opportunity to steal thousands of pounds worth of personal items from them.
“After being caught Walker did the right thing by owning up to her crimes and handing herself into police, enabling justice to be served to the victims.
“This is the ultimate breach of trust as an employee and she is now paying the price for her actions.”