A COUNCIL official has been jailed for fiddling more than £48,000 of public money to fund her gambling addiction.

Kathryn MacDonald, 37, carried out the fraud by using 19 different email addresses to make false tax exemption claims - and then pocketing the money.

MacDonald, who worked at the Vale of Glamorgan Council, in Barry, stole more than £48,000 in five months.

The court heard how MacDonald became addicted to gambling - and began using the council money to cover her losses.

Christopher Evans, prosecuting, described the fraud as a "sophisticated offence" before adding that none of the cash could be recovered.

Stephen Thomas, defending, said: "There is no evidence of an enhanced lifestyle - it all went on the gambling.

"It was extremely naive. It certainly wasn't thought through well."

MacDonald, of Leckwith, Cardiff, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday, October 3.

Recorder Peter Griffiths described it as a "gross breach of trust".

He added: "There are thousands of people who are only a few clicks on a computer away from having money fleeced away from them by a major organisation.

"You had access to the council’s tax system and you abused that - not just once but on 19 different occasions.

Mr Griffiths said there was "no question" of her paying any of the money back as she had "no money in the pot."