Lisa Phillips has pleaded guilty to fraud after taking over £16,000 to pay off her personal debts.

She had worked at Honeytree Day nursery in Bristol for 20 years, looking after children, dealing with parents and, eventually, working her way up to manage the setting.

One of the most concerning aspects of the case was that Phillips had not registered the existence of certain children at the nursery to hide her theft. This meant that those children had no official record of food allergies, medication, health issues or attendance, potentially putting them at risk.

The issue came to light when the defendant had a day off in July 2013 and her colleagues found that a child was not properly enrolled. The investigation that followed showed that 21 children in total were not registered.

On top of the cash she’d taken, there was an instance of a £240 payment from University of the West of England going directly into Phillips’ bank account.

Phillip Weston, the Managing Director of the nursery, who notified the authorities, told the court he felt betrayed by someone he had trusted.

She was sentenced to ten months in prison at Bristol Crown Court. Judge Mark Horton made it clear that the sentence was given, not just on the basis of the money taken, but also on the risk to the unregistered children.

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