Woman stole £6,000 from grant given to youth club so she could pay off her car tax
A youth worker stole more than £6,000 from a grant that had been given to the youth club she ran to pay off her own car tax.
Theresa Taylor, 38, denied stealing from the Folly Youth Club in Long Lawford, near Rugby, but was found guilty last month.
She was handed a suspended prison sentence for the theft on Friday, with the judge calling her greedy and dishonest. She was only spared jail because she has a young daughter, the judge said.
Warwickshire Justice Centre, in Leamington Spa, heard that Taylor helped set up the club in 2012, which she ran alongside two other women.
In 2015, Folly obtained a Development Fund grant for £10,000 for improvements to the building and running costs.
In the space of seven months, between October 2015 and April 2016, Taylor stole a total of £6,438.85 by regularly withdrawing cash from the Folly account for sums of £100 to £500 at a time.
The money was used to make direct debit payments to her car tax.
When the mother-of-one was caught, she tried to put the blame on an innocent trustee of Folly, which stands for Focus on Long Lawford Youth.
During sentencing, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told her: I have indicated already how I much abhor the despicable way in which you conducted your defence. It leaves you with not a shred of credit.
Nor do I take into account the delay, which is all your fault. You lied. You, for reasons of greed and dishonesty in a position of trust, stole money which should have gone for the benefit of the local youth.
Taylor was saved from going to jail only for the sake of her young daughter, the judge told her.
He sentenced her to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered her to do 180 hours of unpaid work.
It is a bitter irony for me as a judge, and for the public, that your disservice to the local youth is linked to the best piece of mitigation, your daughter, the judge said.
It is her youth which means I am not going to pass an immediate sentence. If it was not for that, you would have gone down those stairs for 12 months.
The youth club has since been shut down.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge told the court: I dont think her actions would have precipitated its failure, but they affected its ability to function, because it didnt have the funds it should have had.
It is a breach of a high degree of trust, and her defence was blaming a wholly innocent trustee of the club.
Defending Sarah Holland said: Clearly she was convicted after a trial, and is not entitled to any credit, but it is a sentence which is capable of being suspended.
A custodial sentence would have an effect on Taylors young daughter, who has been brought up almost exclusively by her, and was not aware of the proceedings.