A former care worker who stole money from an 88-year-old woman was told his actions were “absolutely reprehensible” by a sheriff who ordered him to carry out unpaid work in the community.
Eammon Barker, 36, of Station Road, Kelty, had been caught taking £20 from the woman on three separate occasions when he visited her Milnathort home to care for her, Perth Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday.
The court had previously heard that the elderly woman’s family became suspicious of Barker and set up a hidden camera at her home to catch him carrying out the thefts.
Barker had worked for Auchterarder-based firm Avenue Care Services at the time of the offences. Part of the care package for the 88-year-old consisted of caring staff travelling to her home in Milnathort four times a day.
The court had been told that the woman was given £50 each week by her daughter to help pay for goods. The daughter noticed her mother had £40 in her purse when she dropped by her house one evening.
But she was alarmed to discover there was only £20 remaining the following day. The only person in the house when the money was taken was Barker, as the elderly woman had been away for the night.
Then the daughter noticed another £20 had gone missing a few days later.
Police were contacted and they told the family that CCTV could be put in place, pointing in the direction of the purse. Footage was then viewed by officers and it showed Barker stealing from the woman’s purse.
On Wednesday, Sheriff William Wood told Barker his behaviour was “absolutely reprehensible” and warned him that he had considered sending him to jail.
“This was a breach of trust which caused concern to this lady and her family,” he said.
“Luckily this woman seems sharp enough to be aware of what you had done.
“I heard you were short of money at the time but that’s no excuse.”
Barker – who represented himself and said he was now working as a driver – had admitted stealing £20 from the 88-year-old at her home on May 10, 24 and 25 this year.
He was ordered to carry out 250 hours’ unpaid work and to pay the woman £60 in compensation.