A WOMAN whose role included collecting rent from residents on Barrow Island has appeared in court accused of syphoning off more than £57,000 from tenants for herself.

Kelsey Johnson, the office manager for Holker Estates in Barrow, was said to have taken rent from residents of the Devonshire Buildings apartments in Buxton Street and kept for herself over a four-year period.

The 47-year-old appeared at South Cumbria Magistrates' Court yesterday, charged with taking the money between April 2014 and November 2018.

Johnson, of Raleigh Street, was said to have left tenants of the flats behind on their rent thinking they had paid it.

Prosecutor Peter Kelly told magistrates: "This relates to the theft of money over a period of time.

"She collected rent but took the money for her own purposes."

The defendant has indicated no plea at this stage. The case has been sent to Preston Crown Court to be heard on August 9.

Ms Johnson had been granted unconditional bail until that date.

The apartments, which are opposite BAE, underwent a major refurbishment in 2017 and are said to be particularly popular with shipyard workers.

The 1870s sandstone properties were constructed to house workers at the Devonshire Docks and the Barrow Iron Ship Building Company, and they are still used for that original purpose, featuring more than 100 residential flats.

The Holker group announced in 2010 it would put more than £4 million in the site over the following five years.

The Grade II listed building were designed by architects Paley and Austin.