Judge’s warning to care workers

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A JUDGE says action must be taken to stop vulnerable people being swindled out of thousands of pounds of cash by care home workers.

Judge Richard Bray’s plea came during the sentencing of a former care home manager who managed to steal £11,000 from one patient over three years.

Lorraine White, 50, of Park Road, Rushden, was jailed for two years for the theft carried out while she was manager at Ferndale Care Home in Headlands, Kettering.

The judge said: “This sadly is another case of fraud at a care home – it is quite obvious that there is a serious problem with the administration of finances at many of these homes.”

He added: “The homes make a lot of money and they should show a certain amount of care to their patients.

“A lot of managers are not properly qualified.”

The court heard how White used her position to take financial control of one man who had mobility problems.

Using a Nationwide account she took money regularly from September 2005 to February 2007.

The largest amount she took out at one time was £500.

She was caught out when the home’s owner, Shaw Healthcare, conducted an investigation and passed on the matter to police.

The home closed in 2008.

White was interviewed on three occasions and, at first, claimed the victim was spending the money on his girlfriend.

But on the day a criminal trial was set to take place she pleaded guilty to theft.

The court was told she took the money to pay off debts and help tackle her own family’s health problems.

Judge Bray said: “You were in a substantial position of trust and you used your position to take advantage.”

He added: “There has to be a custody sentence to act as a deterrent to those who may be tempted to act in a similar way.”

After the case a spokesman for Shaw Healthcare said: “This individual was placed in a position of significant trust which she abused.

“Following an investigation, Shaw Healthcare reported her to the police which resulted in her prosecution.

“We remain committed to ensuring the highest standards of welfare and security.”

Serve, a county charity which helps older people, described the despicable.

Chairman Barry Graves said: “Vulnerable people must be protected in our society – this is truly shocking.”