Woman who stole more than £9,000 from pensioner ordered to pay back £1

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A woman who stole thousands of pounds from a vulnerable neighbour has been ordered to pay over just £1 after a confiscation hearing was told she has no available assets.

Wendy Steels stole so much money from her 70-year-old neighbour, that he ended up in debt and was visited by bailiffs looking to seize his assets.

But a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday (Monday) was told that Steels has no assets that could be seized to pay back her victim.

Judge Michael Heath ruled that Steels benefited from crime by £9,147 but ordered her to pay a nominal amount of £1.

Steels offered to help her neighbour when he was temporarily immobilised after falling down the stairs at his home in Stamford.

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

She was able to use his bank card and withdrew cash. The money was supposed to be used to pay his rent and council tax as well as provide him with living expenses.

But Steels pocketed a significant amount of the cash leaving him with rent and council tax arrears.

Steels, 38, of Northumberland Avenue, Stamford, admitted theft between December 2008 and June 2011. She was given a six month jail sentence suspended for two years when she appeared before the court in June.