A HARD-UP university student pocketed thousands of pounds of takings from a community swimming baths by failing to put swimming lesson fees through the till.

Iesha Jackson helped herself to around £100 a day while she worked as a receptionist at Shirley Pool in Southampton, a court heard.

But her thieving was uncovered when bosses at West End Swim Club became suspicious and reviewed footage on a CCTV camera which showed the 23-year-old putting money into her bag.

Magistrates in Southampton heard how the Southampton Solent Univer-sity student stole the money over a three-month period.

While Jackson could be seen taking customers’ money and giving them change, the cameras also caught her in the act – with estimates she stole as much as £3,000, the court was told.

When she was interviewed by her boss, Jackson first denied the theft but then admitted it, although she was unable to say how much she had stolen.

The police were then called and she was dismissed.

Mitigating, David Adams said Jackson, a sports and coaching student, was in financial trouble when she began stealing.

He said having failed to secure student accommodation, she was forced to pay for an expensive commute from London to her course.

When she did secure a place to stay she had little money left after the deposit and was struggling to pay for power, food and rent.

He said: “It is very much out of character. It was such a foolish thing and she was bound to be detected.

“Clearly the money would be noticed missing and she was bound to be detected on CCTV. It was very much an amateurish theft.”

Jackson, of Arthur Street, Southampton, pleaded guilty to theft.

She had no previous convictions, spent the money on bills and was now too poor to pay all the money back, the court heard.

Magistrates ordered that she pay compensation of £500 and a victim surcharge of £60.

She was also given a 12 month community order.