AN EX-CARER has been given a suspended prison sentence after stealing a bank card from an 84-year-old she was caring for and withdrawing £250.

Sarah Waters, of Park Place, Welshpool, appeared at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when she pleaded guilty to a charge of theft and two charges of attempted theft from Margaret Violet Davies.

The victim had very limited mobility due to arthritis and Stephen Davies, prosecuting,  told the court that since the theft the victim had sadly passed away.

Mr Davies said: “The victim’s daughter said she went to Sainsbury’s to do her mother’s shopping.

“She returned the card to her mother’s purse.”

He added that the pin number was known only to Ms Davies and her daughter and was written in a notebook in the house but was not identified as a pin.

Mr Davies said the daughter informed the care agency that she was going away and would not be there for a couple of days; in this time the card went missing.

The bank informed Ms Davies’ daughter that the card had been used to withdraw £250.

Further information from the bank said the card had been used in a failed attempt to withdraw £200 and also to pay for fuel at Tesco petrol station in Welshpool.

Ms Davies’ daughter described her mother as always helping people and an extended family member to many.

Reading the daughter’s statement, Mr Davies said: “On May 1 she (Ms Davies) was admitted to hospital in Shrewsbury with a chest infection. I believe she was depressed. Since being in hospital her health has declined. I believe the distress was a significant cause.

“As a family we are very angry about what happened.”

Mr Davies told the court that police were able to identify Waters from CCTV footage taken at Tesco petrol station.

Using the vehicle number plate, police attended Waters’ address and arrested her, £18.42 was found in her purse which was seized.

In interview, Waters said the pin number was on the back of the card and she had rubbed it off, she added that she had put the card in by mistake to get fuel.

Defending for Waters, Ben Thistlethwaite said: “At the time she was the soul earner for a family of four.

“Needless to say, she has lost her job.”

He also asked that the magistrates take jurisdiction for the sentencing.

Victoria Baker, of the probation services, compiled a report on Waters for the court.

Ms Baker told the court that Waters said the card and paperwork were outside the property, it appeared they had drifted from the recycling boxes, and Waters had not gone looking for them.

In sentencing, Magistrates said: “There was a serious and gross breach of trust with an octogenarian.”

They gave her a six month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. Waters was also given a community order for 12 months and must complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

Additionally she must complete 150 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £85 costs, £250 compensation to HSBC who had refunded the victim  and a £115 surcharge.