A BRIDGWATER woman was spared jail after she admitted to stealing more than £4,000.

Margaret Carpenter, 55, from Bridgwater admitted to stealing £4,262 from the YMCA in Bridgwater between December 21 2016 and January 14 2017 when she appeared at Taunton Crown Court on July 17.

The court heard that Carpenter, who was an accountant at YMCA in Bridgwater, wrote a letter to her bosses just days after the theft and admitted she had stolen the money after getting into trouble with loan sharks.

Judge David Ticehurst told the court that Carpenter had been under a lot of stress as her husband suffers from blood cancer and her son is currently receiving counselling after problems with bullying at school.

The judge added that due to financial difficulties Carpenter is now on benefits and said the family is just able to afford their living costs.

"It is such a shame to see you here all because of the ridiculously high interest rates that loan sharks have where a £400 loan can become £4,000 worth of debt" he said.

"I commend you for admitting your guilt not only to me but to your employer and to the police.

"I can see that you have been through a difficult time and I can see that you know you are sorry for your crime, it is a shame that you will now have a criminal record because of this.

"The real enemy here is loan sharks and I would urge you not to use them again.

"I hope that things continue to get better for you and that you can quickly pay the money back."

Carpenter was given a 12 month community order and was ordered to pay the money back as quickly as possible.