A Ballymena woman, who admitted taking customer details from a business she worked for before she left her post, has been ordered to do 120 hours of Community Service.
Julie Lyle (52), of Meadowvale, who admitted two charges of fraud by abuse of position, was involved in a “breach of trust”, a prosecutor said.
Ballymena Magistrate’s Court was told on Thursday that the firm - K G McAtamney Wholesale Meats - called police in November 2017 after the defendant had been spotted acting suspiciously at a computer.
It was reported Lyle, who had worked in tele sales, had “removed commercially sensitive material” before she resigned.
A member of management found a post-it note with a new computer password and discovered the defendant had deleted emails.
A spreadsheet with details of customers which had been “built up over a number of years” and a product pricelist had been emailed to Lyle’s personal email and she also deleted computer files containing price lists.
The court was told customers had then allegedly been contacted by Lyle saying she was now working for a competitor, but it was heard McAtamney Wholesale Meats had “not lost” any customers.
A defence solicitor said the defendant had a previously clear record and had pleaded guilty to the charges.
He said that despite what was said in court there had only been a possibility Lyle was going to work for a competitor.
But it “never occurred” and “she had been used” to get information which she thought would have been of “benefit”.
The lawyer said Lyle accepted it was her decision to get involved and the whole matter had been “very stressful” for her and her family.
District Judge Nigel Broderick told the defendant: “This is a serious case because it involves a breach of trust.
“Any such cases will be dealt with in a robust fashion by the court.”
He said he took into account the guilty plea at the first opportunity and Lyle’s clear record.
The judge added: “I have no doubt that the complainant sustained considerable inconvenience and some financial loss.
“Clearly it was a matter of concern for your former employer.”