Gosport pensioner helps to catch thieving carer red-handed

RIPPED OFF Sylvia Gibbs noticed her carer was stealing money
RIPPED OFF Sylvia Gibbs noticed her carer was stealing money
PCSOs and police officers around Priory School this afternoon

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A PENSIONER turned detective to catch a carer who was stealing money from her.

Sylvia Gibbs, 82, set a trap for carer Kerry Skipp when she noticed her money was going missing.

The partially-blind Gosport pensioner began secretly marking her bank notes.

When she discovered money was taken after a visit from Skipp, she called the police.

The police then marked some more notes and lay in wait for the 26-year-old carer.

Officers stopped her as she left the house and found £80 in marked notes in her bag.

Now she is serving a four-month sentence in jail.

Mrs Gibbs told The News: ‘I was annoyed when I found out, rather than angry.

‘I wasn’t going to let her get away with it. I was pleased the police caught her. I think she was stupid. The prison sentence isn’t long enough.’

Skipp had also stolen blank cheques from Mrs Gibbs and made them out to herself.

Prosecutor Justin Gau said: ‘Mrs Gibbs has some difficulties but is sharper than most because she was concerned that money was going missing.’

Skipp also plundered cash from 95-year-old Hilda Worley, who lived in warden-assisted accommodation and whose son would give her money.

The carer knew where the cash was kept and helped herself to it. In all she took £1,640 from the two women.

Skipp, of Launceston Close, Gosport, who worked for Mears care services, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft and one of false accounting at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Daniel Reilly, defending, said Skipp was suffering from depression at the time of the offences between March and September last year.

‘She certainly is of the view she wants to rebuild her life, not to forget what happened but to be able to acknowledge it and move forward,’ he said.

He said Skipp had lost her job and was now on benefits.

Jailing her, Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘You took advantage of the high degree of trust placed in you and in a gross breach of that trust you stole money from these two vulnerable and elderly ladies.

‘Your employers and their families were entitled to expect you to act honestly and protect them, not steal from them.’

The court ordered the £80 seized to be paid in compensation, but Skipp has no money to cover the rest.

Victims won’t get their money back

KERRY Skipp will not have to pay all the money back because she cannot afford it.

The courts cannot order a defendant to pay compensation unless there is a realistic prospect of it being paid within a year.

Only the £80 that Skipp was caught with will be returned to Sylvia Gibbs.

Meanwhile Holly George, from Mears, the company that employed Skipp, said: ‘Ms Skipp was suspended from her role at Mears pending the investigation and she went on to admit theft to our branch manager. She was therefore dismissed and Anita Morris, branch manager was prepared to testify against her in court.

‘All our team co-operated fully with the police, and we work closely with Gosport Social Services to ensure the safeguarding of all our service users.

‘All our care workers are Criminal Records Bureau checked and we carry out spot checks.’