A MAN who stole thousands of pounds from an elderly relative in Sunderland has pleaded guilty to fraud.
Brian Coulson, 50, targeted the elderly woman, who was living in a care home on Wearside, as part of his scam.
But the alarm was raised when care home staff contacted Sunderland City Council after the woman’s care bills were repeatedly going unpaid and they had difficulties getting him to settle accounts.
Mr Coulson had control of the woman’s financial affairs, which allowed him to commit the offence. Further inquiries into the management of her finances also raised a number of other concerns.
The judge at Newcastle Crown Court handed him a 12-month community order, 200 hours of community service and ordered him to pay £2,000 court costs.
Coulson, of Upton Court Road, Slough, was also ordered to pay back the £13,000 he had taken.
Det Con Caroline Bell of Northumbria Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: “We assisted in the protection of a vulnerable person within our community using the powers provided under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
“Northumbria Police Financial Investigation Unit is dedicated in pursuing criminals and any assets through their criminal activity in order to show crime does not pay.”
Neil Revely, executive director of health, housing and adult services, Sunderland City Council, said: “Officers from the City Council’s customer property and affairs team working with colleagues within social work teams contacted police after concerns were initially raised regarding the management of this woman’s finances.
“These officers continued to work with police throughout their investigation. We are pleased that this work has led to the prosecution and subsequent sentencing.
“Hopefully this will send out a clear message to other people who take advantage of a loved one or a vulnerable person in this way, that it simply will not be tolerated.”