A trusted member of staff at the Falmouth Hotel stole thousands of pounds from her employer.

The thefts came to light when 36-year-old Emma Jamieson went on maternity leave and unaccounted-for transactions were discovered.

Jamieson, who had worked for the company for eight years, including as personal assistant to two general managers, admitted in court last week to stealing £3,900 belonging to Richardson Hotel Ltd, the hotel’s parent company, between February 1, 2011 and August 31 the same year.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service said the total amount stolen reached more than £5,000.

Jamieson, who lives in Perranwell Station, would make bookings that were then cancelled – but she refunded the money to herself.

Other times she would book rooms of a high standard and then put guests in a lower standard room, refunding the difference in price to herself, said a spokesperson for the CPS.

Magistrates in Truro sentenced Jamieson to a 12-month community order, involving 160 hours of unpaid work, and ordered her to pay £1,200 in compensation to the hotel.

Current general manager Ben Young, who took over while Jamieson was on maternity leave, said: “She’s worked here for eight years and was off on maternity leave when bits of evidence began to spring up here and there over various transactions.

“The main red light came when an auditor did a review of our accounts and starting asking what all these refunds were for.

“It’s incredible. Eight years she was in this position of authority and trust – who knows.”

Mr Young said not only had Jamieson betrayed the hotel but “really did break the trust” of friendships she had made with other staff.

“I know there are a lot of people very personally upset and offended,” he said. “From a business point of view she was stealing from a company that employs 100 local people. It’s just shocking really.”

He described the sentence as “fairly light”, claiming the loss to the hotel was “probably up to about £10,000.”

But he added: “Having said that, at least some justice has been done. I’m pleased it’s come to an end – it’s closure for people.”

Staff at the hotel would wonder where Jamieson found the money for Radley handbags, Ugg boots and trips to see the band Take That.

One member of staff told the Packet: “We are all absolutely horrified to think that somebody put in such a position of trust was all along pilfering money from the different departments.”

The Packet contacted Ms Jamieson through her solicitor but she did not wish to make a comment.