A trusted cleaner who pocketed cash and blank cheques belonging to clients has been given a chance to stay out of jail.
Emma Campoli, a self employed cleaner with Twinkle Twinkle services in Sunderland, was given a suspended prison term in March for stealing £100 from a drawer in one of her client's homes.
Newcastle Crown Court heard, within weeks of being in court for the theft, the 40-year-old started helping herself to cheques belonging to another customer, making a £900 gain for herself.
When the client realised his cheque book had been tampered with and contacted the police, Campoli immediately confessed "I did it" and pleaded guilty to theft from employer and fraud by false representation.
The court heard the customer had been reluctant to involve the authorities but told police he was concerned about the breach of trust, by somebody who had a key to his home, and did not think it should be got away with.
Campoli, of Vicarage Road, Sunderland, told police she made out three cheques, worth £200, £300 and then £400, to herself and cashed them at her own bank.
She said the threat of eviction, bailiffs at her home and outstanding legal costs lay behind her behaviour.
The court heard Campoli has previous convictions for shoplifting and served a prison sentence in 2006 for stealing from another employer.
Despite her criminal history, the court heard Campoli has now enrolled and Sunderland University on a degree course and, after successfully completing a probation course resulting from her last conviction in March, now volunteers as a mentor for other troubled women.
The court heard Campoli has promised to work Saturdays at a hairdressing shop to save up compensation.
After hearing about the success Campoli has tried to make of herself, Mr Recorder Ian Harris deferred sentence for six months to give her a chance to progress.
The judge said: "I will allow her the opportunity to see what she can make for herself.
"If I am wrong, she goes to prison, I can promise this, for 16 months. It is as simple as that."
The judge said Campoli must commence her degree course, which starts next week, start saving, keep up with her volunteer work and stay out of trouble
Campoli will be back in court on February 24 to be sentenced.