Grimsby nursery boss sent to jail for eight months
A TRUSTED nursery boss who "systematically" stole more than £17,000 cash from parents has been jailed.
She regularly altered cash records to "cover up" the thefts and later cynically tried to put the blame on colleagues when the missing cash was finally discovered, a court heard.
Kelly Marley, 31, of Niche Mews, off Taylors Avenue, Cleethorpes, denied two offences of theft from Little Stars Nursery, based at Grimsby Institute, but was convicted by a jury after a trial in December.
She had been working at the time as the nursery's deputy manager.
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Bernard Gateshill, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court: "She was trusted to count the money and not to keep it for herself."
Recorder Felicity Davies told Marley: "Over the course of more than 15 months from June 2009, you systematically stole more than £17,000 of cash paid by parents of children at the nursery.
"You repeated your thefts on well over 120 separate occasions."
Marley covered up the theft by intercepting cash handed over by parents and omitting the transactions from records and receipts or by altering the arithmetic to reduce the correctly-entered figures and "pocket the balance".
Manager Tracey Bennett discovered the discrepancies after checking receipts on October 18, 2010, and failing to "get the figures to tally".
She found three receipts that had been written out but not entered on a daily cash record.
"That prompted a thorough check of accounting documents, which revealed the extent of the loss to the nursery," said Recorder Davies.
Marley had been doing the banking on every day that money had gone missing.
"The offending is aggravated by the breach of trust and by your castings of suspicion in a deliberate attempt to blame your colleagues, particularly Tracey Bennett," said Recorder Davies.
"This offending is too serious to justify any sentence other than immediate custody.
"It was sustained over a significant period of time and the blame that was cast over your colleagues aggravates the offending considerably."
Andrew Bailey, mitigating, said: "She still denies the matters. She has maintained her denials, but she accepts the jury's verdict and is dealing with it."
Marley had been in a management position of trust and had "thrown it all away".
It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for her to work in that field again.
"She had a career and she has lost it," said Mr Bailey.
Marley had resigned from her recent retail job. She had no previous convictions and had a 20-month-old son.
She was jailed for eight months.