A 60-year-old woman who stole almost £5,000 while working as treasurer for a Chesterfield scouts troop has been handed a suspended jail sentence.
Margaret Oliver was responsible for banking subscriptions from members of the 1st Hasland scouts, beavers and cubs troop.
Her trail of dishonesty was uncovered after the district treasurer noticed accounts for the troop had not been submitted for a long time.
Town magistrates heard that he asked for the accounts to be sent in as soon as possible but they did not arrive.
A fund-raising committee then found a shortfall in the troop’s account and Oliver confessed she had “borrowed” some money.
“She said she couldn’t make ends meet and was desperate. She made a note at first of what she had taken but then she kept taking money and was unable to repay it and she threw away the records.
“She said she felt ashamed of what she had done and didn’t know how much she had taken. She said her house was up for sale and she wanted to repay what she owed,” said Lynn Manning, prosecuting.
Police estimated that Oliver had stolen £4,765. She repaid £500 after the offence came to light.
Oliver, of Central Street, Hasland, admitted theft between September 2009 and January 31.
She received a 14-week jail sentence, suspended for a year, and was ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work and pay £4265 compensation, with £85 costs.
“She had been involved with the scouts for ten years and hadn’t done anything like this before,” said Katie Fowkes, for Oliver.
“She was married with two children. The relationship ended some time ago and financial pressures started to build on her.
“She was working 25 hours a week and bills were coming in and she couldn’t pay them. She is totally ashamed of the offence.”
Ms Fowkes added: “The house sale is a drastic move and shows the level of remorse she feels. It’s the only way she can pay back the money owed to the scout group.”
A Derbyshire Times reporter called at Oliver’s house on Tuesday to give her a chance to apologise, and to explain why she stole from the Scouts.
She closed the door on our reporter. There was no ‘for sale’ sign attached to the property.