A teaching assistant accused of faking cancer to con her colleagues out of £20,000 will stand trial next year.

Ursula Rose pleaded not guilty to theft and fraud charges at an appearance at Croydon Crown Court this morning.

The 41-year-old is alleged to have used a doctor's certificate to trick sympathetic colleagues into donating money for lifesaving treatment.

The former classroom assistant at St Thomas Beckett Primary School, of Westgate Road, South Norwood, allegedly told co-workers she was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer and needed money to pay for care.

Mrs Rose is accused of conning Gill Trype out of £3,000 between March and May 2009.

She is also charged with cheating Allison Patmore out of £6,500 between May and July 2009.

She faces a third count of fraud for attending a fundraiser at Bar Txt, South End, in 2009, intending to gain £400, and is also charged with two counts of theft for £5,000 and £5,500.

Mrs Rose will stand trial at Croydon Crown Court on February 18, 2013