Family of 90-year-old snares Honiton thief with CCTV

Carer caught red handed,

THE family of a 90-year-old Honiton woman set up a CCTV camera in the vulnerable pensioner’s home, fearing she was a victim of theft.

Their suspicions were confirmed when the covert camera caught the pensioner’s home care worker stealing cash from the premises.

Rosalind Caroline Reed, 43, of Roundball Close, wept in the dock as she pleaded guilty to charges of theft from a dwelling in breach of trust when she appeared at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court, in Exeter.

Reed was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, reduced to 12 weeks, which was suspended for 12 months.

She will also undergo 12 months’ supervision, debt counselling and an alcohol programme and was order to pay compensation of �260 to the victim.

The court heard that between October 20, 2010, and January 1 this year, Reed stole �260 from a vulnerable pensioner she was caring for. Suspicions were raised by the victim and her family after they became aware that money was going missing from the property.

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They took the decision to install a CCTV camera.

Reed was caught on camera on two occasions stealing envelopes of money from a chest of drawers in an upstairs bedroom, which she hid in her clothing.

Reed was said to have spent the money on snacks, candles and clothes.

James Rickard, defending, described Reed as a lady of previously good character and told the court the money was taken to help her pay off substantial personal debt, which had been brought about by borrowing from advertised loan companies.

Reed had been approached by the family to help take care of the woman, who she would check on twice a day. This was an informal arrangement between the family and Reed, who was not working for a care company at the time.

The court was told she had previously worked for a home help firm, but had gone freelance.

Lindsey Baker for the prosecution said: “Reed was in a high position of trust and the theft has hit the victim very hard.”

The court also heard that Reed has serious debt problems, which had been estimated at between �3-4,000, and that she owes money for the non-payment of her water bills.

The defence said her actions were entirely wrong and Reed had no excuse for what she did.

“He said: “She is going to live with this mistake for the rest of her life.”

The chairman of the bench, Ian Derbyshire, said: “We are most concerned of this breach that you were in a position of trust and that you robbed an essentially very, very vulnerable victim that was 90 years old.

“That matter is so serious it crosses into the custodial threshold.”