A Whanganui woman stole more than $28,000 from her employer and left a note explaining she had done it to pay off gambling debt.

The gambling addiction "stemmed from boredom" after Kelly-Ann Webster had a stroke, defence lawyer Anna Brosnahan told Whanganui District Court.

Webster, 43, was in court being sentenced for burglary, which she earlier pleaded guilty to.

Judge Dugald Matheson said the charge was an "interesting label", as Webster's offending was more like "theft as a servant".


She was working for the victim at a local TAB outlet, and had a security code to the building.

On November 21 Webster closed the shop with her employer, but came back a couple of hours later and stole $28,455.70.

Webster left a note apologising, but saying she needed the money to pay off a gambling debt, Judge Matheson said.

Reading from a victim impact statement, he said her employer was "a woman ruined by this significant breach of trust". She had to close the premises for a week, has suffered panic attacks, and has had to put back retirement plans.

Judge Matheson said Webster had "expressed remorse" and wanted to repay the victim.

"Your means are limited, but I'm going to take you at your word and record that," he added.

He said in his time dealing in law he had come across a number of people with a gambling addiction. "It is not easy, but you are going to have to resolve it, otherwise your life will disintegrate totally," he said.

Webster was sentenced to six months' home detention and ordered to repay the stolen money.

The judge said he was making a "note of caution to the victim that that may be a long time coming".