A PHARMACY assistant has pleaded guilty to stealing up to £77,000 from her employer.

Lisa Cavanagh, 37, worked as an assistant at Cowards Pharmacist in Hartington Street, Barrow, where she was responsible for banking the takings.

But between 2009 and 2014, Cavanagh, 37, siphoned off cash from the business and paid it into her own bank account.

Over a five-year period, Cavanagh, of Chester Street, Barrow, made a number of large deposits to her personal bank account - on top of her wages from Cowards - using money intended for the business.

Cavanagh was arrested and accused of pocketing £125,000 from her employer.

A trial was set to take place at Preston Crown Court this week but Cavanagh pleaded guilty to a single count of theft from her employer at a pre-trial review.

Expert reports revealed that between January 1 2009 and December 31 2014, Cavanagh stole a figure of up to £77,181.

The prosecution agreed the lower figure and said it would not be necessary to proceed with a trial on the higher sum.

Cavanagh appeared in the dock at Preston Crown Court, where she spoke only to confirm her name and to enter her guilty plea.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, ordered a pre-sentence report to help determine the appropriate sentence.

Cavanagh was granted unconditional bail but will return to court on March 17 to face sentence.

The judge warned that all sentencing options would be considered - including the possibility of an immediate prison sentence.