Former treasurer admits to taking money from pre-school

PUBLISHED: 11:55 05 October 2006 | UPDATED: 19:49 01 June 2010

A FORMER pre-school treasurer was ordered to pay £500 compensation to a Fenland pre-school after she took fees paid by parents and failed to return the cash. Fiona Collins, of 11 Nelson Gardens, Wisbech, admitted to taking a total of £710.11 from the Step

A FORMER pre-school treasurer was ordered to pay £500 compensation to a Fenland pre-school after she took fees paid by parents and failed to return the cash.

Fiona Collins, of 11 Nelson Gardens, Wisbech, admitted to taking a total of £710.11 from the Stepping Stones pre-school, attached to Leverington Primary School, between October 2005 and May 2006.

Anita Waterman, representing Collins, said to Fenland Magistrates: "She was taking some money in the belief she could pay it back, but it became increasingly apparent that she could not."

Collins, 34, had pleaded guilty in September to stealing:

# £75 on October 12 2005,

# cash, clothing and flowers to the value of £43.48 on or about March 7 2006,

# £150 on April 19 2006,

# £100 on April 27 2006,

# a DVD wallet, DVDs and detergents to the value of £16.63 on May 3 2006,

# £250 on May 10 2006,

# £75 on May 11 2006, and

# an unknown amount of cash on February 6 2006.

She took over as treasurer of Stepping Stones in October 2004, despite having no experience. It was an unpaid position she carried out alongside working in the school admin and as a lunchtime supervisor.

But an audit was carried out after the former treasurer noticed discrepancies in the accounts, which showed £2,016.56 to be unaccounted for.

The court heard that only cheque deposits had been made during the material times and that cheques needed two signatories.

Some of these were pre-signed by the other signatory, which Collins used to make purchases for both the group and herself.

Mrs Waterman said that Collins, who ceased being treasurer in June 2006, had financial and marital problems at the time.

She used the money to buy food and petrol for her car and she had tried to get benefits, but was told she would not get any money for six weeks.

Mrs Waterman said: "She has not used that as an excuse to justify why she did it - she has said there was no excuse."

Chairman of Magistrates, Peter Waterfield, said to Collins: "Because of your income you can pay back £10 per week and pay a total of £500 compensation, for the loss to the school."

She was also ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay £75 costs.

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