A CARER stole a bank card from an elderly woman with dementia she was supposed to be looking after, and used it to take more than £1,000 from her bank account.

Worcester magistrates heard that Sarah Isles, aged 49, stole the card some time in September or October last year and used it to pay two council tax bills, of £324 and £216, and a mobile phone bill for £100.

There were also a number of contactless card payments, and the total loss to the woman was £1,055.05.

The theft was discovered when the 91-year-old woman's son examined his mother's bank statements and saw payments that should not have been there.

He went to police, and the deception was uncovered, prosecutor Kerry Lovegrove told magistrates. The bank that issued the card has since refunded the woman, the court heard.

Isles, of Ford Close, Malvern, pleaded guilty to one charge of theft and three charges of fraud by false representation.

Miss Lovegrove said that the victim's son had to look far alternative care providers for his 91-year-old mother following the discovery of the theft.

She also said that Isles had been convicted of benefit fraud 13 years ago.

Mark Lister, for Isles, said: "Apart from that matter 13 years ago, Mrs Isles has no previous convictions.

"She was motivated purely and simply by the matter of her own debt.

"This offending was highly unsophisticated and because she used the card to pay her own debts, was by its nature bound to come to the attention of the authorities."

The court heard a probation report which said that, at the time of the offending, Isles was under a lot of stress and had recently undergone an operation for suspected breast cancer.

"She now wishes she had gone to the Citizens Advice Bureau to deal with her debt problems," the report said.

The report said that Isles is currently in employment, but was also suffering from the auto-immune disease lupus.

Magistrates sentenced Isles to a 12-month community order, with 200 hours of community service. She also has to pay £1,055.05 compensation to the bank, £185 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.