A BARMAID who embezzled thousands of pounds from a Musselburgh social club is facing a jail sentence.

Heather Smith helped herself to more than £17,000 in takings over a 10-month period while she was employed as head bar steward at the Wiremill Social Club.

Smith, 57, was in charge of banking the community club’s bar takings but, following a review of the accounts, it became apparent that thousands of pounds were unaccounted for.

The club’s treasurer confronted Smith about the missing cash and she was soon suspended and the police were called in to investigate.

Smith pleaded guilty to embezzling £17,958.17 from the Wiremill Social Club between July 22, 2013, and May 26, 2014, when she appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Wednesday.

Prosecutor Jennifer Graham told the court that Smith was employed as head bar steward at the community club between 2013 and 2014 and that she had sole responsibility for banking the bar takings.

Ms Graham said: “On November 16, 2014, the club treasurer and secretary submitted accounts to the accountant which ran from 2013 to 2014.

“There were dates when nothing had been banked relating to the sum of £17,958.17 and the treasurer enquired into this.

“They attended at the Royal Bank of Scotland and it was confirmed this was not a mistake.

“Shortly after they spoke to the accused and asked if they could see the club’s pay-in books.

“The books were examined and revealed that the payments were not in any of the books.

“The accused was confronted and asked why the money was missing.”

Smith, from Gibson Drive, Dalkeith, was subsequently suspended from her trusted position and the police were called in.

Solicitor Graeme Clark said that he would reserve any mitigation for the sentencing diet.

Sheriff Peter McCormack deferred sentence to next month for the preparation of social work reports.