Two women from Stanley must pay compensation to elderly people after being sentenced at court in separate cases, both for defrauding ageing victims.

One of them, Kirsty Haslam, worked as a carer at a local service provider in the Stanley area.

During her employment she was said to have stolen, “a significant amount” of cash from a vulnerable woman who relied on her for private care.

Haslam was reported to police when colleagues expressed concerns, in May 2022, as they believed she was financially exploiting the victim.

Safeguarding detectives immediately launched an investigation and later charged Haslam with fraud by abuse of position.

The 33-year-old defendant, of Clark Terrace, Shield Row, Stanley, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court last Thursday (November 9) when she was ordered to pay compensation and made subject to a six-month community order.

Detective Constable Graeme Whitfield said: “I would like to thank the management and staff of the care provider.

“They swiftly identified that Kirsty Haslam was abusing her position of trust and taking advantage of an elderly and vulnerable victim.

“Haslam’s dishonest actions were in clear contravention of her employment terms and safeguarding training.

“I am in no doubt that if it wasn’t for the management’s professionalism and caring approach, the victim would have been subject to further fraud.”

In an unconnected case, Ashleigh Gardner received a 19-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Durham Crown Court after admitting defrauding her own grandmother by false representation, between June 2021 and June 2022.

The 36-year-old defendant, of High Street, Stanley, was said to have intercepted her, then, 82-year-old gran’s mail and made withdrawals from her bank account.

When she initially pleaded guilty she disputed the amount taken as the prosecution stated it was £12,134, but she claimed it was somewhere between £4,000 and £5,000.

But when the case came back to court for a scheduled trial of issue, the hearing was told she now accepted the amount stated by the Crown and would not seek to contest the figure.

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On top of passing the suspended sentence, Judge James Adkin also ordered Gardner to complete 210 hours’ unpaid work, attend 40 rehabilitation activity day sessions with the Probation Service and pay her grandmother £1,200 compensation, at the rate of £50 per month.

A five-year restraining order was also put in place prohibiting the defendant from contacting or approaching the victim.

In light of the cases, Durham Police have stated that should anyone believe they have been targeted by a fraudster, they should report it using the 101 number, or contact Action Fraud, on 0300-123 2040.

If you think you’ve been targeted by a fraudster, report it to us on 101, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.