A cleaner who claimed 25 iPads she stole from a primary school were a gift for her ‘amazing’ work was told to do 180 hours of community service. 

Fiona Rabess, aged 29 (b. 21.10.89), stole more than 25 educational iPads from Christ Church Primary School in Streatham between October 2017 and June of last year.

At first the school believed children might have been accidentally taking the missing iPads home, but Rabess was eventually captured on CCTV ‘stuffing iPads down her trousers’, says the Crown Prosecution Service.

Some of the iPads – worth thousands – were later returned to the school by a pawnbroker from Brixton after he saw  stickers with the school’s logo on them. Police also found two at Rabess’ home in Streatham.

At first she claimed they had been gifted to her by the school, but then changed tack and pleaded guilty when faced with the overwhelming evidence against her.

On Monday, February 25 Rabess was sentenced at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to five counts of theft as an employee at an earlier hearing.

She was given a twelve-month community order, told to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay back £600 to cover the cost of some of the iPads still missing.

Robert Short, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Fiona Rabess had worked at the school for more than two years and was a trusted member of cleaning staff.

“However, she used her access into the building to take educational tools away from schoolchildren for her own financial gain.

“Rabess initially claimed the iPads were a gift from the school’s caretaker for her ‘amazing’ work cleaning the toilets, but the prosecution’s case against Rabess was so strong that she had little choice but to plead guilty to the thefts.”