A WOMAN has told of her relief after a carer who stole hundreds of pounds from her elderly parents was jailed.
Thief Tracy Reynolds was treated as part of the family by Cyril Payne, 89, and wife Beryl, 85.
But the couple were left devastated when Reynolds stole £200 from them after taking a bank card from their Waterlooville home.
The theft came to light when Mr Payne noticed money was missing from the couple’s bank account and raised the alarm.
Now Reynolds, 46, is behind bars after admitting to three counts of theft from people she was meant to be looking after.
The Paynes’ daughter Zoe Duke, 51, said: ‘This has devastated all of us and had repercussions way beyond the theft of the money.
‘My parents’ health has failed dramatically since this happened. They trusted her implicitly – she was their long-term carer.
‘She had been going to them for a few years and they considered her a friend.
‘It’s very hard for mum and dad. We couldn’t fault her caring but underneath she was a thief at heart.’
Reynolds, of Eastney Road, Southsea, did not only steal from Mr and Mrs Payne in June last year.
She was suspended after her employers Echoes Community Care in Havant were alerted.
Further investigations revealed Reynolds had also stolen a total of £40 cash from another elderly woman she was caring for on two separate occasions – also last June. The police were called and Reynolds was sacked.
Reynolds, who has previous convictions for stealing from employers, admitted three counts of theft at Portsmouth Crown Court.
She was jailed for six months and told to repay the £240 in the next year.
Mrs Duke added: ‘I’m overjoyed at the sentence she got. Nothing will make mum and dad better but I’m happy that she will pay her dues.’
Judge Richard Price, sentencing, said: ‘These were mean and despicable offences. You were the carer for elderly and vulnerable people – one couple in their late 80s who trusted you, who regarded you as a member of their family. It’s true that the amount involved is not huge, the degree of the breach of trust in you is enormous.’