A judge told a care worker she had behaved despicably when she used bank cards stolen from two elderly residents to buy shopping.
Leeds Crown Court heard Charlotte Armour’s first victim at the Grove Park Care Home in Leeds was an 87-year-old pensioner suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Prosecutor Caroline Abraham said the victim’s daughter visited her mother’s flat to collect her mail on January 30 and found a letter from NatWest reporting suspicious behaviour on her mother’s account between January 24 to 28.
She reported this to police and it was discovered that £180.09 had been spent on the card at supermarkets in the Meanwood area.
Armour was identified from CCTV footage and admitted taking the card when she was arrested on February 10.
Miss Abraham said the carer had never been in any trouble before and was eligible for a police caution, which was given with a condition she repay the money.
However, she failed to do so and charges were brought when it was discovered she had also stolen from a second resident – an 84-year-old woman who has since died.
The second victim’s son was alerted on February 13 about suspicious transactions and he found her TSB card was missing.
Those transactions totalled £495.53 and included contactless payments at shops, a visit to the Hedley Verity pub in Leeds city centre and online purchases from Just Eat and JD Sports.
In both cases the banks had refunded the money, the court heard.
When she was interviewed again in August, Armour said she stole because she was in financial difficulties.
Armour, who is now unemployed, told a probation officer she had got into debt. She owed rent, council tax and utilities and had a county court judgment against her.
Genan Hashim, mitigating, said Armour’s father had helped pay off some of her debts since then and she realised she should have sought help sooner.
He said she was remorseful and ashamed of her behaviour.
Armour, 20, of Beckhill Chase, Meanwood, admitted two charges of theft and two of fraud by false representation.
She was given 18 months suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work for the community.
Judge Penelope Belcher told her: “These are mean and nasty offences.
“You were using these cards for your own benefit at the expense of two elderly and vulnerable ladies. I have heard that you are ashamed, so you should be. This is despicable and disgusting behaviour”.
But she said she had just been persuaded to suspend the inevitable prison sentence after hearing she was taking steps to address the “underlying issues.”