A CARER who was struck off amid allegations of theft forged documents to allow her to continue to work - and stole from a family she was looking after.

Veronica Newton, 41, falsified a police record to get another job and kept up the charade until other clients reported things missing from their homes.

Even when she was confronted by bosses, she brazenly maintained the lies and made a fake phone call to the authorities to try to cover her tracks.

However, the call was recorded and it was discovered that she had been put on hold and the conversation she pretended to have had not been with anybody.

Mother-of-two Newton, of Malvern Crescent, Darlington, was condemned by a judge at Teesside Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday), but was allowed to walk free.

Recorder Martin Bethel, QC, imposed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision and unpaid work, and told her:

"You must never ever work in this sort of employment in the future because you have demonstrated you are a thoroughly dishonest and untrustworthy person."

Newton admitted charges of engaging in a regulated activity from which she was barred, two counts of fraud, and was found guilty after a trial of theft.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court cleared her of thieving cash from clients, but found her guilty of swiping Spiderman bedding from a child's bedroom.

Mr Recorder Bethel told her: "If you had been convicted of stealing money from an elderly man, you would have been going to prison for a substantial period."

Newton was employed by Unique Home Care, based in Bishop Auckland, after forging a police caution form she got for working when she was banned.

The court heard that she added "this is no longer a police matter, and I recommend she is removed from the barring list" and emailed it to officials.

And from December 2013, she was allowed to work alone with vulnerable people and carried out the theft, Connor Quinn, prosecuting told the court.

Kieran Rainey, mitigating, said jailing Newton would have a devastating effect on her children - the eldest of whom has diabetes and needs her care.

"It was only her desperation to stay in work and provide for her family that saw her do these things," he told Mr Recorder Bethel. "She still contests the theft.

"She is hoping to retrain. She has some thoughts and ideas about what she could do. That would be a further productive factor to stop her re-offending."