Helen Eckstein, 22, rifled through Diana Wethered's bag at the family home at Avebury Trusloe, in Wiltshire, and stole cash. She was ordered to do 80 hours' community service by magistrates in Devizes yesterday and to pay pounds 170 in compensation and costs.
Eckstein, of Bexhill, East Sussex, had admitted two charges of theft and a further charge of failing to surrender to police bail at an earlier hearing.
A statement given out by Eckstein's solicitor after the hearing said: "She is truly sorry for committing the offence against the Wethereds but she is relieved the case has now come to an end so she can plan positively for the future."
The court was told that Eckstein was taken on as a nanny to look after the family's five children, aged three to ten. She was appointed after replying to an advertisement placed in the Lady magazine. But shortly after her appointment last September, Mrs Wethered noticed that money was going missing.
Guy Knell, for the prosecution, said that Mrs Wethered had carried out a "little experiment" by leaving cash in three places around the house. After one note disappeared, Mr Knell said Mrs Wethered set up a video camera. Police later watched the film which showed Eckstein looking through bags and purses in the dining room four times.
Eckstein was said to have debts of more than pounds 5,000 which she ran up as a student at Wolverhampton University. Stephen Clifford, for the defence, said that Eckstein had taken the money to stave off creditors.Reuse content