COURT: Woman stole £7,000 from pensioner

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A neighbour has admitted stealing £7,000 from a pensioner she had offered to help.

Wendy Steels stole so much cash from him that he was visited by bailiffs looking to seize his assets after he got into debt, Lincoln Crown Court was told today.

Steels offered to help the 70-year-old after he was temporarily immobilised after falling down the stairs at his Stamford home.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said Steels, a friend of a relative of the victim, was seen as an ideal solution to the pensioner’s mobility problems and was given complete control over his financial affairs.

“She had his cash card and could make withdrawals from his bank.

“Although some of that money was used to pay rent and council tax and some money was given to the complainant there was a shortfall over a period.”

Suspicions began in 2010 when the pensioner received a summons for non-payment of council tax and was then found to be more than £400 behind with his rent to South Kesteven District Council.

The following year the pensioner wanted to go on holiday to Scotland but discovered “a hole” in his funds.

Mr Howes said: “This lady had been draining him of his funds. His card was swallowed up by an ATM.”

The matter was reported to police in June last year and three days later Steels walked into Stamford police station and gave herself up.

Steels, 38, of Northumberland Avenue, Stamford, admitted theft of £7,000 between December 2008 and June 2011. She was given a six month jail sentence suspended for two years.

Recorder Christopher Goodchild told Steels “In my view this was a substantial breach of trust.”

Charles Falk, defending, said Steels volunteered to help the pensioner when he was injured and then continued to assist him once he was fit again.

He said: “She has shown remorse. There is a lot of powerful personal mitigation.”