Victims of crime are left out of pocket by thieves

SHARP Sylvia Gibbs, of Gosport, who helped to catch her crooked carer
SHARP Sylvia Gibbs, of Gosport, who helped to catch her crooked carer

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THERE have been calls for courts to be given more powers to ensure victims of theft get their money back.

It comes after 82-year-old Sylvia Gibbs had cash stolen from her home by her carer.

As reported in The News, the partially-blind pensioner, from Gosport, noticed money going missing and secretly marked her bank notes.

This led to the police catching carer Kerry Skipp red-handed outside her home.

But Skipp, 26, of Launceston Close, Gosport, who was jailed for four months, will not have to pay her victims back for the money she took 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 Skipp was caught with will be returned to Mrs Gibbs.

Mrs Gibbs said: ‘I’m not worried about money but I am annoyed that she’s getting away with so much.

‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to see any of that money again. I hope it doesn’t happen to anybody else.’

Gosport Borough Council once prosecuted a fly-tipper who used his truck to dump rubbish in Lee-on-the-Solent.

And the council was granted powers to seize the man’s truck as payment.

Gosport council leader Mark Hook, said: ‘Why does it have to be paid back in a year, why can’t it be over a lifetime? I can’t see any reason why the courts can’t order the compensation be paid out of future benefits or something like that.’

A spokesman for the Judicial Office in London said judges have to work within sentencing guidelines.