Jacqueline Robb
Jacqueline Robb has been jailed at Manchester Crown Court for ten months for theft after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing. Greater Manchester Police

A primary school administrator who had stolen tens of thousands of pounds of children's dinner money to fund luxury holidays has been jailed.

Jacqueline Robb stole £46,011 while working at Varna Community Primary School in Openshaw over a four-year period, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The 54-year-old, who had stolen from the children's £11-a-week dinner money, was jailed for 10 months after she pleaded guilty to theft.

Robb, who earned more than £30,000 a year, had worked at the school since 1999 and was promoted to finance manager in 2009.

Robb, of Laburnum Avenue, Manchester, used the cash to buy foreign holidays and clothes and has vowed to pay back every "last penny".

Her role involved in all aspects of the finances at the school including the administration and accounting of school income and expenditure as well as collecting the school meals income.

The missing cash was discovered when, in December 2016, the school was subjected to an audit of Manchester school's cash handling, which included a review of the school meals income over a five-week period between October and November 2016.

It was discovered that one week's cash income of £951.90 had been recorded as received by the school but had not found its way into school's bank account.

The audit was then extended and the matter was reported to police where over a four-and-a-half year period, going back as far as April 2012, they identified a deficit of around £10,000 per annum missing.

The court heard that this cash, paid by school's more than 450 pupils, was used to fund Robb's holidays, wardrobe and general lifestyle.

Prosecuting, Philip Dobson said according to the Manchester Evening News: "Police investigated and gained access to her bank account, and found many tens of thousands of pounds of otherwise unexplained cash."

Defending, Steven Sullivan, said she had amounted debts while enjoying luxuries including holidays and she had "genuine regret" about the theft.

He said: "She started on the basis that she was borrowing and would be going to pay it back, that never happened of course."

The court heard that Robb, whose husband also worked at the school but resigned out of "respect" had no previous convictions.

It was stated that Robb suffers from post traumatic distress disorder and made a 'serious attempt' on taking her own life last year.

Judge Richard Mansell QC told the offender: "The school, like so many, has experienced huge pressures on their finances over the last decade.

"They can ill afford to lose this kind of money, which unless recouped by you, will be borne by the school."

Detective Constable Laura Watson of GMP's Fraud Investigation Team, said: "Robb was a respected and trusted member of staff at the school.

"In her position as Finance Manager, she was expected to safeguard the financial interests of the school.

"She made the decision to breach the trust instilled in her by the school, improving her financial wellbeing through illicit means, which is absolutely unacceptable and we will continue to weed out offenders like Robb who think they are above the law."