A bingo hall cashier who stole more than £16,000 from her employers wept as she was jailed for eight months today.

Oxford Crown Court heard Emma Meechan stole £16,178 from Gala Bingo in Banbury by taking advantage of a computer glitch.

Meechan, of Lennox Gardens, Banbury, was caught when her regional manager launched an investigation after receiving an anonymous tip-off. The 28-year-old stole the cash between July, 2006, and August, 2007, after a technical error with the firm's buzz cards - which could be loaded with cash by Bingo players - meant some began with a balance of £167,000 instead of zero.

Jonathan Stone, prosecuting, said the manager of the bingo club Colin Ricalton also stole £23,000 and had already been sentenced.

He said: "There were quite literally huge discrepancies in the company's buzz card figures. It was a computer error, which the defendants took advantage of."

Jane Malcolm, defending, said Meechan had admitted her theft as soon as she was caught and helped police with their investigation.

She added: "She is deeply ashamed and sorry for what she has done."