THE mother and daughter cheated out of nearly \u00A345,000 by Christine Short have told The Hunts Post of their shock after discovering someone they considered a friend had been stealing from them. Kate Arthur and Christine Morris have run Cromwell Care in Ramsey for 13 years, based in The Great Whyte, caring for people in their own homes, offering meals, dressing, washing and personal care, including helping people get into and out of bed. It employs about 50 people. Short, 44, had known the family for 20 years and was invited to help out in the office when Katie, 30, went on maternity leave. Part of Short's job was to administer the wages, but she helped herself to extra money until her personal documents uncovered the theft. Mrs Arthur said: "I was shocked and devastated. I felt betrayed by someone we considered a friend. Confronting her was not easy. She had been a very, very close family friend. She was invited to family parties, including Christenings and weddings. She was at my wedding. "This has shaken both of us. It has knocked our sense of judgement. While the money is important, it is the betrayal of trust, which is worse. I used to baby-sit for her children, I used to pick one of her daughters up from school and give her tea and while I was looking after her daughter, she was stealing \u00A31,000 from me. She has a lovely family who she has also betrayed." Following last week's sentencing, Mrs Morris added: "My daughter and I take no pleasure in seeing a family without their wife and mother, but we have to remember there is only one person responsible. "We would like to say thank you to the community of Ramsey - we have been inundated with their support, not only from family and friends, but local traders and even people in the street." Mrs Morris said it was also "a shock" to hear in court that Short had never considered them close friends, but said the pair were now determined to put the thefts behind them. "The company has already moved on. We have had a reorganisation and feel we have a stronger team who are looking to the future. We are still considering whether to pursue our accountancy costs of nearly \u00A34,000 through the civil courts, although she has indicated she is willing to pay those back to us as well." She added that references had been taken up for Short, who had returned to work after a career break to look after her three children and had previously worked for RAF Brampton. "This has had far-reaching effects. We have lost staff we could have paid more. We could have given them the money she stole," she said.