A church treasurer has been jailed after stealing £24,000 from a church in Hertfordshire.
Alison Blake – who also stole £125,000 from a company she worked for – used the money on "retail therapy" to cure her depression, St Alban’s Crown Court heard.
The 52 year old was the chief signatory for the parochial church council (PCC) at her local church – a role she’s held since 2013.
The church – which only has ten regular worshippers – usually collected around £3,500 a year, until Blake started paying in fraudulent cheques from her employer, Kier Fleet Services.
She pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud by abuse of position, for crimes which began in February 2018.
The court heard how Blake resisted attempts to have a second signatory on the account, which she used to transfer money to her own account.
She then spent it on shopping sites like Estee Lauder and Amazon.
Blake resigned from her church role in 2019, but repeatedly made excuses to prevent the new treasurer from taking over the account, prosecutors said.
She's received a sentence of 28 months behind bars and has written letters of apology to the church, employer and the court.
Defending counsel Natalie Turner said: "Ms Blake had paid back the church and offered to repay Kier.
"She had previously been in two abusive relationships and had turned to retail therapy as a coping mechanism.
"She had been going through the perimenopause and had felt under huge pressure, having experienced bullying at work."