A CIRENCESTER woman who stole £9,000 from a playgroup has been sent to prison for nine months after admitting three other thefts.

Claire Jayne Thompson of Upper Churnside appeared for sentencing at Gloucester Crown Court this morning after admitting breaching the 26-week sentence she was given in August last year for stealing £9,000 from the Lewis Lane Playgroup.

In April the 36-year-old appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates Court and admitted stealing a white gold ring worth £300 from a house in South Cerney as well as gold bracelets and pendants worth £2,000 and an unknown amount of other jewellery from a house in Poole Keynes.

Ian Dixey, prosecuting, said the mother-of-two had taken the jewellery while working in a cleaner at both houses.

“She said she can’t explain why she did it but said it was like a release,” he said.

“She said she felt remorseful for what she had done.”

The court also heard she had not paid back any of the £5,000 she was ordered to pay back to the playgroup.

Joe Maloney, defending, told the court Thompson was suffering from mental health issues as a result of an extremely difficult childhood and other health issues.

“She seems to have plummeted in terms of both her physical and mental wellbeing since 2011,” he said.

“This is a lady who fully understands that what she did was terribly wrong.”

Judge Jamie Tabor QC said, as she had committed the thefts during the term of her suspended sentence, he had no choice but to send her to prison.

“Deep down she has to desire to be punished,” he said.

Sobbing, Thompson nodded her agreement.

Continuing, he said the crux of issue was not only that she had breached the trust of the people she was working for, but also that she had taken items of sentimental value.

“There are mental health issues but I have no doubt as well that you knew you were doing wrong,” he said.

“You knew that and you know you must be punished.”

She was sentenced to two months for each of the three recent thefts and three months for breaching the suspended sentence, to run consecutively.