A CASHIER has admitted stealing more than £165,000 from a Halesowen solicitors where she worked before the firm was closed down by regulators.

Pauline Sutcliffe pocketed the money over a ten-year period from Stables and Co which had offices in Halesowen, Stourbridge and Rowley Regis.

But Recorder Martin Forde QC ruled he could not finalise the case against the 58-year-old from Oldbury because there were doubts over exactly how much money she took from the firm between 2001 and 2010.

He told Sutcliffe although she had admitted the charge there was "anxiety there may be an exaggerated figure" regarding the money.

The Recorder stressed the sentencing Judge would need to know the exact amount because it would determine her fate although he warned custody was likely because it was a "high level breach of trust."

He told Sutcliffe at Wolverhampton Crown Court it was extremely sad to see someone of her age and with a positive good character standing in the dock.

"There is always the likelihood of a prison sentence in a case like this," he added. "We need to find out the true amount you stole from your employers."

Sutcliffe, of Wolverhampton Road, admitted stealing £165,745 and was remanded on unconditional bail until April l when the information is expected to be in the hands of the court.

Christopher Lester prosecuting maintained, "The only person in charge of the accounts was the defendant and the figure is the one she has come up with."

But Robert Cowley for Sutcliffe said the total loss could only be worked out if the files were checked fully adding, "At the moment it is all rather speculative."

The Solicitors Regulation Authority launched a probe into Stables and Co after partners David Moore, Nigel Jordan and Jessica Bird were all declared bankrupt last April and their practising certificates were then suspended.