NORTH East pensioners have been fleeced of almost £200,000 by the people they should be able to trust most over the last three years, new figures reveal.
Carers and family members are behind almost 130 thefts of cash and possessions, with Northumbria Police recording £84,125 reported stolen from over-65s in the last year alone.
With no end to the recession in sight, experts are warning the elderly will continue to be an easy target for criminals.
Age UK spokeswoman Alma Caldwell said: “As our society ages, we have increasing numbers of frail and vulnerable people depending upon family, friends or professional paid carers to support them and continue living independently in their own homes.
“It’s of grave concern that we are hearing about increasing numbers of old people being financially abused by those very people who are suppose to be protecting them.
“There appears to be huge disrespect for old people in our society today, which is something as a nation we should be ashamed of.
“As we are all facing harder economic times, unemployment, standstill wages and raising inflation, older people can be too easy a target for those less scrupulous to take advantage of.”
As well as cash, cars, jewellery, TVs and medicines were among the items stolen.
Family members were the main offenders, behind 80 of 129 thefts.