Charity worker stole takings

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A FORMER charity shop manager avoided going to prison after admitting stealing the takings.

Rachael Willison, 41, was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, for stealing £2,100 in cash from the Oxfam shop in Corby in March and April 2008. In addition to the suspended sentence, she was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work for the community and was told to pay £1,350 compensation and £85 costs. Corby Magistrates Court was told yesterday that Willison, of Lynton Grove, in the town, took the money while the charity’s area manager was out of the country working.

Karl Read-Simpson, prosecuting, said Willison, who has no previous convictions, had been part-time manager at the shop for four years.

He said: “She was responsible for the day-to-day running of the branch, including taking money to the bank. When her area manager was out of the country working she failed to bank any takings for two weeks and when she did bank takings they were far below the usual amount.”

The court was told that Willison admitted taking money home and keeping some of it. She later resigned from her job but kept till rolls and other paperwork.

Ben Brown, for Willison, said: “She is not entirely sure how this happened. It could have been the result of stress. She had worked for the charity for 11 years as a volunteer. She did not use the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle, but on day-to-day living.

“Her manager was away at the time and she had no support and things got carried away.

“She is deeply remorseful, ashamed and embarrassed about what happened.”

Magistrate Russell Watson said: “You were in a position of authority and attempted to conceal evidence of the offence. This was theft against a charity.”

The shop has since closed.