A THIEVING former care home manager who pocketed thousands of pounds from vulnerable residents then claimed she had cancer has been sacked from her job as a trainer after details of her criminal past came to light.

Michelle Cox, 50, had been employed by Profound Services to train young people from the North-East hoping  to develop a career in the care industry.

But she was reported to bosses at the Peterlee-based firm after students on a course at Ashbrooke Sports Centre in Sunderland discovered her background by carrying out an internet search.

Despite being on licence, having been recently released from prison, she was leading a two week BTEC level two in health and social care for the company.

A 55-year-old support worker, whose niece was on the course, said: “I cannot understand it. She was training people to do the type of work she was in.

“There is all of the safeguarding that goes into those jobs, yet she has been in prison.

“It is unbelievable. I don’t know how she has got away with getting a job. It is wrong.”

Cox, of Glenfield Drive, Middlesbrough, raided the safe while based at the Rosedale Care Home at Catterick Garrison and was reported to North Yorkshire Police and charged with 18 counts of theft and one count of false accounting.

But the charges were dropped after she forged a letter from a consultant saying she had terminal cancer.

She was later convicted of perverting the course of justice at Teesside Crown Court in March and jailed for 12 months earlier this year after it was revealed the consultant had never heard of her.

Between January and April 2010, she was found to have taken more than £3,000, including money brought in by families for residents as well as care home fees.

Cox was subsequently struck off the nursing register by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Chris Nichols, head of operations for Profound Services, said Cox was an associate and not directly employed by Profound Services.

He said: “When we recruit associates they are not directly employed and although we take references and CVs but we don’t necessarily carry out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. It had not come to light about Michelle’s history.

“We have terminated our agreement with Michelle so she will not be involved with the course going forward.”