A WOMAN who stole over £16,000 while working as a receptionist at Southwell Leisure Centre, has been spared an immediate prison term.
Mother-of-two Kimberley King, 41, was sentenced to six months suspended for a year at Nottingham Crown Court today, Thursday, 21st March.
She was also ordered by a judge to do 180 hours unpaid work for the community.
Judge Michael Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham, ordered that £16,310 compensation was to be paid to the trustees of the centre in the next five weeks.
King pleaded guilty to theft and false accounting between 2007 and 2011.
She was operating the till but not recording all the transactions.
Judge Stokes told her: “Although they were small amounts you were doing it for such a long period without being apprehended it had reached a substantial sum.”
An audit brought the offences to light.
King, of Deeke Road, Fernwood, Balderton, had financial difficulties, the court heard.
Judge Stokes told her the case passed the custody threshold but he was not sending her immediately to prison.
He took into account her age and the fact she had never been in trouble before.
Her parents were going to repay the money and would be compensated over time by her husband.
“When you told him of your financial problems he was very supportive,” the judge told her.
The judge said he was bound by law to take into account the likely effect on her two children if she went straight to prison.
Her husband would also have to give up his job, at least temporarily, to look after them.
Most importantly, King had admitted the offences and not blamed anyone else.
Her barrister Martin Elwick had also made the point that a year had now passed and she’d had the worry and concern over that length of time.
The judge said it was serious offending, amounting to a breach of trust.
“It affects a smallish community like Southwell, where the leisure centre is effectively run as a trust on behalf of the local authority.”