An accountant has been sentenced on the charge of theft, stealing £74,000 from her employer which nearly put the chain out of business.

Liverpool Crown Court was told how Helen Crompton, 42, stole the money and supposedly spent it on shopping, paying for a gym membership, trips to the beauticians and jewellery. She also reportedly was said to have spent the cash flying ten members of her family out to the Greek Island Rhodes for a week.

Furthermore, she attempted to avoid going to court, using a fake hospital letter which claimed she had cancer.

The prosecutor, Clair Jones, said that Crompton took on the job of accountant for 60 Hope Street, a company which owns three restaurants, in 2013, and then proceeded to steal the money from them, making payments on behalf of the business into false accounts.

The mother of two was sentenced three years and eight months in jail for her crimes, but had also previously received a suspended prisons sentence for crimes involving a past employee.

Crompton’s defence was that she had been desperate to pay off debts of £8,000, built up by an ex-partner, who also owed her £7,000 in child support.

Despite her defences, the Judged ruled that she had stolen the money simply to fuel a “hedonistic lifestyle”, and as a result, sentenced her to three years and eight months in prison.