A Worksop woman who took £2,270 from a vulnerable 80-year-old man she had looked after for 20 years was threatened with a prison sentence, a court heard.
Carol Peacock swiped a Halifax bank card from the man’s home when she went to collect cigarettes and used it ten times between November 20, and December 24, last year.
“This was quite a pernicious offence,” said Ruth Snodin, prosecuting. “He treated her almost like a family member.
“She stopped visiting him because she felt guilty about taking his money.”
She said the man, who lives in the Worsop area, cancelled his card in January after not hearing from Peacock and seeing a bank statement with the unauthorised transactions.
The card was retained by the bank when Peacock tried to use it at an ATM, in Worksop, on January 7.
An adult social worker contacted police.
Peacock, 57, of Lincoln Street, admitted fraud when she appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Thursday.
She told police that she had been struggling financially and felt “desperate” because debt collectors were visiting her, but intended to repay the money.
David Verity, mitigating, said Peacock’s victim had been in a ten year relationship with her mother, until her death 20 years ago, and since then Peacock had “effectively looked after him and helped him out”.
He said Peacock had been forgiven by the man and they had already agreed that she would repay him.
“She cared for him for many years,” he said. “She is totally ashamed of what she has done.
Probation officer Greta Percival said: “Quite frankly, she didn’t know what came over her.
“She was struggling with debts and had been taking medication for depression.”
She said Peacock had a 20-year-old son, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and was also responsible for a grandson.
District judge Andrew Meachin said: “This offence goes way beyond the custody threshold.”
He gave Peacock 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered her to pay back what she took in full at the rate of £10 a fortnight from her benefits.
“If you commit another offence in the next 12 months you will go to prison,” he told her.