A VULNERABLE man was robbed of hundreds of pounds by a support worker helping him in his own home.
Rachel Sykes took advantage of the man’s vulnerable state in a bid to clear her own debt problems - helping herself to over £1,700 after stealing his bank card.
At Preston Crown Court the 28-year-old, of Burgundy Crescent, Cleveleys, was told she had committed a “mean and nasty offence” after details of her crime were revealed.
Karen Brooks, prosecuting, described how Sykes had cared for her victim in his Poulton home as part of a care package provided by the St Annes-based Ormerod Home Trust.
The man could not read, write or understand numbers and needed support at all times when it came to financial matters.
Sykes’ crime came to light after it was discovered the man had not been receiving bank statements - and despite his card being kept in a locked place only accessible to staff, it emerged 16 transactions had taken place without being logged by staff, including one when he was on holiday.
Defending, Jo Shepherd said Sykes had acted “wholly out of character” after attempting to increase her working hours to make more money made her ill.
She said: “She is remorseful for her actions.
“She has indicated a willingness to pay the money back as soon as possible.”
Judge Simon Newell said: “It was a mean and nasty offence. It was in breach of the substantial trust that had been put on you in the course of your profession and it was a breach of trust to a vulnerable victim.
“The gravity of this offence cannot, in my view, be measured just by a simple assessment of the figures involved. It goes far beyond that”.
Sue Sharples, chief executive of the Ormerod Home Trust, confirmed Sykes no longer worked for the company.
She said: “We treat any abuse of trust by a member of staff very seriously and we have stringent procedures in place to detect theft of any kind.”
Sykes was given six months jail, suspended for 18 months, with an order to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and repay the money in full.