A WOMAN who stole a bank card belonging to a 94-year-old Llangollen care home resident and used it 27 times has been spared jail.

Appearing at Mold Crown Court, Jill Rheade, of Cottage Lane in St Martin’s pleaded guilty to fraud.

The court was told that Rheade had worked at the Llangollen Fechan home as a laundry assistant where she stole the bank card of an elderly resident and used the card’s contactless feature to make more than £500 worth of purchases.

Jo Maxwell, prosecuting, said Rheade was trusted for three years to enter the rooms of residents, which includes her own mother, to assist in folding or hanging up clothing.

Ms Maxwell said Rheade, who has no previous convictions, entered the room of a 94-year-old woman and looked into her handbag, removed her purse and took the card in May.

Over a 13-day period, Rheade fraudulently used the card to buy items for herself including cigarettes and alcohol.

Ms Maxwell said the unexplained transactions were noticed by the resident’s daughter, who has control over her mother’s money, who deactivated the card suspecting that her mother had unknowingly become a victim of fraud.

NatWest refunded the £556.56 that was taken.

The court heard how Rheade had then cut up the card and confessed the situation to her manager which is when police were alerted.

A statement read out in court by the daughter says that she has ‘concern and worry’ for her mother and other residents falling victim to similar incidents.

The care home has since made changes to their policies and the court was told by Ms Maxwell that residents are now no longer able to keep hold of their own bank cards upon them.

Matthew Curtis, defending, said Rheade acted in ‘a moment of madness’ when she took the card.

He said Rheade has “never done anything like this before” and hoped that the court would acknowledge that in light of her clean criminal history that this incident is seen as being completely out of character.

Mr Curtis added that Rheade has since had her employment terminated at the care home which has led to her becoming dependant on benefits which she does not feel comfortable with and continues to seek employment.

Judge Niclas Parry handed Rheade a sentence of six months for the fraud suspended for 12 months and also ordered her to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £556.

He added that Rheade was lucky to be spared from serving a custodial sentence and would have to face seeing the woman she defrauded every time she goes to visit her mother, which her family stress will now be supervised.