A WOMAN turned computer hacker to take revenge on a former business associate, a court heard.

Danielle Bulley, 58, spent five hours permanently deleting more than 5,000 employee and supplier files and company manuals when she got into Letterbox Productions Ltd’s cloud-based Dropbox, said Alistair Campbell, prosecuting at York Crown Court, sitting in Leeds.

She told police she had been angry with its director, a former business associate.

Outside court, police said the victim had told them her actions had led to the company collapsing and job losses.

Inside court, Bulley, of Blind Lane, Tockwith, pleaded guilty to three charges of computer hacking.

She is now one of only a handful of people convicted under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

She had no previous convictions and was given an 18-month community order with 80 hours’ unpaid work.

Judge Simon Hickey said: “It was done in revenge.”

She was a respectable woman, but had lost her good character.

For her, John Batchelor handed in three character references.

“It is a sad end to a working career,” he said.

Mr Campbell said Bulley and the victim had both been directors of Property Press (Holdings) Ltd.

It collapsed after Bulley resigned and was resurrected without her as Letterbox Productions Ltd.

Detective Constable Steven Harris, of North Yorkshire Police’s Cyber Crime Unit, said: “During our investigation, it became clear that Bulley had left the original company on a bad note, but the deletion of thousands of files containing vital information was catastrophic for the victim.

“It dealt the new business a blow from which it never recovered. Ex-employees can pose a serious risk to a business because they are familiar with the company’s IT infrastructure and procedures. This can make it easier for them to carry out cyber crimes against their former organisation.

“We encourage businesses to ensure they have policies in place for removing user accounts and changing passwords when an employee leaves an organisation.”