NORTHAMPTON: A credit controller from Travis Perkins lied about having breast cancer and then kept the charity donations she collected.

Kirsty Archer, aged 41, also betrayed friendships with work colleagues to steal jewellery and cash while visiting their homes.

She pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court yesterday where she was warned to expect a custodial sentence.

Ms Archer worked as a credit controller at Travis Perkins from 2002 until earlier this year. Alex Bull, prosecuting, said: "The offences are also associated with a group of people who worked with her at Travis Perkins and the majority considered her to be a good friend."

Ms Archer began collecting for various charities, including the Sunflower Centre, Macmillan Cancer Support and Children in Need, when she started working for the company. Mr Bull said: "She retained the money rather than hand it over and told people she had had breast cancer and was collecting for them due to the help they had given her. In interview, she admitted she had never suffered from breast cancer."

Staff and friends contributed to coffee mornings, raffles and sponsored walks, unaware the charities never the estimated £1000 collected over three years.

As well as stealing donations, Ms Archer also preyed on friends to steal jewellery while visiting their homes.

Judge Richard Bray said: "This was a very deliberate and mean fraud in people's own homes and charity fund-raising."

Ms Archer, of Northcote Street, Semilong, admitted five charges of fraud and theft and was bailed with conditions. She asked for two similar offences to be taken into consideration.