19-year-old Kyle Thorpe had already helped himself to £400 from the safe before Christmas, but had apologised to his mother, said Kate Beardmore, prosecuting.
His stepfather, who runs a gym, discovered the theft on February 11, and Thorpe was contacted on Facebook.
“He told them to back off and warned he would attempt suicide,” said Ms Beardmore. “He was intending to go to Amsterdam and at that point they contacted police.”
Thorpe was arrested by Humberside police and told them he needed “to get his head straight and get some money.”
He loaded £3,500 in cash on to a Travelex card and bought clothes from JD Sports before going to the airport.
Around £1,500 in cash in a tupperware container was also recovered.
Justin Atkinson, mitigating, said Thorpe lost his father two years ago and was still grieving. He was recently injured in a motorbike accident and lost his job as a chef as a result.
Mark Burton, of the probation service, said: “He doesn’t have a positive relationship with his step-father but he will admit that is not due to the efforts of his step-father.
“In the weeks before he struggled to cope. He wanted to go to Amsterdam to smoke cannabis.”
Thorpe, now of Grace Road, admitted theft when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Thursday.
A 12 month community order was imposed with 15 days of rehabilitation to address his emotional coping skills and relationship building. He must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
He was told to pay back £3,000 to his step-dad, as well as £85 court costs.