A care worker who stole £260 from a grandmother she looked after in the pensioner’s own home was been jailed for 12 weeks.

Andrea Gartside, who worked for Radis Community Care, was sentenced at Huntingdon Magistrates' Court yesterday (Tuesday, March 3).

The 38 year old was also given an indefinite restraining order preventing her from having any contact with her victim, Mary Rose, who is 90, or to go to the street in Ramsey St Mary's where Mrs Rose lives.

Gartside had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a string of thefts from Mrs Rose, between July 13 and August 5 last year.

She was caught after the pensioner became suspicious. The grandmother informed police who took note of the serial numbers on her cash.

Gartside, from Harris Lane, Wistow also admitted possession of the drug amphetamine.

Sentencing her, the chairman of the bench Mrs Anne Blagden told Gartside she had stolen from a vulnerable person. "You were acting as a carer. You were employed to care for her. This was a breach of trust and it was not a single offence. There were a number of instances and this was planned."

Mrs Blagden added that Gartside had sought to minimise the offence, even trying to pass on the blame to other carers, even though she had pleaded guilty on all counts.

Also, she had claimed to have a range of illnesses, including asthma, arthritis, a bad back and knees, claustrophobia and depression, without producing any medical evidence.

The court heard that Gartside saw her doctor regularly and was on medication for depression.

Speaking for Gartside, Julian Hopley told the court that before she was arrested in August, her health had deteriorated forcing her to take time off work. She was in arrears with her rent, her gas bill and her council tax. She was stressed and "befuddled" by drugs.

Mr Hopley said his client was in constant pain and was now living on benefit. She was in stable accommodation and in a relationship with a supportive partner.

The court heard a statement from Mrs Rose who had said: "I feel very angry and I want her dismissed and not to get any employment working with people like me.

"If she can go out to pubs and out to garden parties, which she does, she shouldn't be stealing from people like me."

Gartside was ordered to repay the stolen money on her release from prison plus an £80 victim surcharge.

After the hearing, Mrs Rose's daughter, Melanie, told The Hunts Post: "I'm glad mum wasn't in court because she would have found it too upsetting whatever the outcome, seeing Andrea Gartside again.

"Mum had a good relationship with all her carers which makes it a lot worse. This was not just like a burglary. I think she would be fairly pleased with the outcome."

Mrs Rose added: "Overall the carer's who come to see me on a daily basis are trustworthy. Finding out that one of them was stealing from me was very hard.

"I hope that by reading about what has happened to me it will encourage other vulnerable people to report any suspicions to the police."