A WOMAN has admitted stealing more than £200,000 from her employers over five years.

Alison Balm, 49, worked in accounts at Fairfields Farm, in Wormingford, but spent years taking money.

She admitted theft from her employer of £218,038 between January 1, 2010, and July 2, 2014, when she appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Balm had been jointly charged with husband, Alan, a sales manager at the firm.

However, charges against him have been discontinued after he died.

The court heard he killed himself after the investigation began and charges were brought.

A spokesman for the coroner’s officer confirmed Alan Balm killed himself on December 11.

An inquest earlier this month found the cause of death to be asphyxia and carbon dioxide poisoning.

Essex Coroner Eleanor McGann gave a verdict Mr Balm he took his own life.

Alison Balm, of Rectory Meadow, Bradwell, will be sentenced next month after a pre-sentence report is prepared. She was released on bail.

Fairfields Farm, in Fordham Road, Wormingford, became home to the family-run crisp company in 2006.

It is lead by husband and wife team Robert and Laura Strathern, and has won a string of awards in the past seven years.

Both come from farming backgrounds and grow potatoes in the Colne Valley.

The company produces its own varieties and featured on a recent series of the BBC One show the Apprentice, chosen due to its expertise.

A spokesman for the family run company declined to comment on the court proceedings against Balm who had worked for them with her husband for several years before her dishonesty was uncovered.