AN OFFICE administrator took £151,193 from her employer so she could lavish it on "compulsive" internet purchases.

Suzanne May, previously of Willingdon Road, Brighton, dishonestly made hundreds of payments into her own bank account, Paypal and using company credit cards while working for Brighton-based eco-engineering firm Aerotrope Ltd.

She was also accused of falsifying the company's accounts between April 2013 and April 2015.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court yesterday (MON) to one charge of fraud by abuse of position and another charge of false accounting.

The court heard she made overpayments to her salary and transferred money to her bank account over a period approaching five years, between December 1, 2010, and August 5, 2015. The total amount she took was £151,193.

Appearing in the dock with her dark brown hair tied back in a bob, May spoke only to confirm her name.

May's defence barrister, Gareth Burrows, told the court she had no previous convictions.

He said: "There's a lot of mitigation in this case. There's a history of growing up in care.

"She had been purchasing things on the internet in a compulsive way.

"She does not have a home at the moment and is moving into a hostel. She is currently living with her partner.

"She has in part paid back some of the money and continues to do so.

"It's against that background that I ask you to consider a suspended sentence."

Judge Laing QC said that because May was of previously good character she would ask for a pre-sentence report.

But she told May: "Please don't take that as any indication as to the final outcome of this case.

"The figures involved in this case mean it's likely a custodial sentence will be the outcome."

May was released to re-appear at Lewes Crown Court on March 14, when she will be sentenced.

Christopher Hornzee-Jones, founder and director of Aerotrope, told The Argus: "We are relieved that she pleaded guilty. It has been a very tough time for us and we are looking forward to putting it behind us.

"We have little hope of seeing all of the money but we hope to see some of it.

"We are just deeply saddened that it happened because we are a small company and we thought she was one of us.

"We are grateful to Sussex Police for all the efforts they made."