A FORMER teacher who admitted her second embezzlement offence has had her sentence deferred for six months.

Alison McWilliam stole more than £9,000 from an out-of-school club in Melrose she was working at having already had a previous conviction for embezzling more than £12,000 while treasurer of Duns Summer Festival.

Selkirk Sheriff Court was told that McWilliam intended paying back money for the latest offence and had been working as a delivery driver for a pizza company.

But her medical condition had deteriorated and she was unable to work.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said his client had been working for some time at The Big Space out of school club after the offence had come to light and had money deducted from her pay to start repaying the sum embezzled.

After considering a letter from the 61-year-old's doctor, Sheriff Peter Paterson decided to defer sentence for six months.

He said: "You will appreciate a custodial sentence would be uppermost in the court's mind due to the previous conviction.

"But your circumstances are now quite different.

"I will defer sentence for six months and hopefully by that time your health will have stabilised."

Sheriff Paterson said the more money she could pay back the more credit she would get at sentencing.

The case will recall on December 12.

McWilliam, of Chapel Street, Selkirk, stole the cash while working at The Big Space at Melrose Primary School between July and August last year.

McWilliam previously embezzled more than £12,000 from the Duns Summer Festival, leaving them with just 18p in their bank account, in 2014.

At the time, she was sentenced to two years’ supervision and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard the then 55-year-old – who blamed an online gambling habit – had cashed in her pension to pay back the sum she embezzled.

McWilliam was also sacked from her job as a Modern Studies teacher at Kelso High School, but avoided being struck off by The General Teaching Council in 2017.