A VETERINARY nurse who stole £20,000 from her Staincross workplace has three months to pay the money back or she will face jail time.

Melanie Beever, 51, of Rawmarsh, had worked at Greenside Vets for almost 30 years but started to take money from the firm between August 2012 and July 2016.

She was convicted of theft after a nine-day trial at Sheffield Crown Court last June, and was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment which is suspended for two years.

On Tuesday she was ordered to pay the funds back within three months or receive a 12-month prison sentence.

Simon Newbery, the veterinary surgeon at Greenside Vets, employed Melanie from school and says he was in shock when he realised she had been stealing money.

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He told the Chronicle: “It’s a relief but it’s not about the money - it’s been a very stressful six years.

“She worked with us for 29 years and we treated her as a family friend and to find someone so dishonest it was just such a shock to us.

“She went to great lengths to hide what she was doing over a long period of time.

“She didn’t show any remorse to me or to my family.

“She had a position of trust and that’s the worst thing because we employed her straight out of school.

“We couldn’t believe it at first but once we started investigating I was in shock.

“If the court hadn’t awarded this then it would almost be as if she got away with it - I hope she will show some remorse but I don’t think she will.

“There’s been lots of sleepless night but we feel like this is closure for us.”