The treasurer of a primary school’s PTA, who was caught stealing £19,625 and then did it again, has received a suspended prison sentence.
Jennifer Carribon, 49, was also employed at Streatham’s Hitherfield Primary School as a breakfast and after-school helper.
Over a period of three years she stole cash and cheques entrusted to her, but after being forced to resign her role and offered counselling she took another £1,375.
First-time offender Carribon, of Goodhew Road, Woodside, Croydon pleaded guilty to stealing a total of £21,000 between October 1, 2013 and December 21, last year.
At Inner London Crown Court she was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to perform 150 hours community service work.
Carribon, who is the sole carer for two young relatives and receives working tax credits and child benefit, must also pay £7,800 compensation to the PTA over the next three years.
“It was her responsibility to bank both cash and cheques, but she began stealing very soon after she took on the role,” said prosecutor Miss Emily Watts.
An internal investigation was launched after an £8,000 PTA cheque bounced , resulting in Carribon paying-back £5,100 and admitting she was stealing.
The school did not inform the police, instead offering the defendant counselling.
“She was given a chance, but stole again when given a bag containing cash and cheques for the PTA,” added the prosecutor.
Carribon told the court: “It’s nothing I’m proud of and I am embarrassed and upset.”
Recorder Alex Gordon said: “You were appointed treasurer and were in charge of funds and immediately started stealing funds over three years.
“You further stole monies rather than right your wrong and that aggravates your offending.
“You breached a high degree of trust. You were given responsibility to look after these funds and instead stole them.
“That’s stealing from children. Their welfare and education.”