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Jailed: Care worker stole from elderly victims
A ‘MEAN and selfish’ care worker has been jailed after he abused his position to steal from two elderly men.
Symon West, of Teal Avenue, Chickerell, pictured right, admitted one count of theft and one count of fraud.
Dorchester Crown Court heard how West, working for Dorset Healthcare Trust, stole £4,649 from one service user.
The elderly man, who lives in Bridport, had been planning to use the money to pay for his wife’s funeral.
Prosecutor Heather Shimmen told how West asked the man for ‘loans’, which he had no intention of paying back.
Despite repeated attempts to get his money back, the 52-year-old defendant was ‘unrelenting’ in his demands on the 74-year-old victim, the court heard.
The court also heard how West had told another elderly man he was selling goods for charity.
He would take him to the boot of his car where the man would pick out goods, with the belief the proceeds would go to an animal rescue charity.
But West pocketed £88 from the fraud, the court heard.
West had admitted in interviews that he had ‘buried his head in the sand’ and that his ‘professional relationship had gone beyond the boundaries’.
Mitigating, Lee Christmas said West had ‘crossed the line’ but that he had ‘lost everything’.
He said: “The theft victim was a very good friend of his and that was crossing the line of the professional relationship.
“He crossed the line, he abused the trust.
“He took the loans and had no intention of paying it back.
“West has lost everything. He has lost his friend, his job. He is isolated, he has no other friends.”
He told Judge Roger Jarvis: “All he asks you to take in to account is the fact of his guilty plea and his genuine remorse.”
Sentencing West to 18 weeks for the fraud and 25 weeks for theft to be served concurrently, Judge Jarvis said: “Symon West, you were a support worker – a very honourable profession.
“The country owes a great deal to those who do the work which at one time you did.
“Not only have you let yourself down but you have let down your colleagues who carry out their tasks diligently and honestly.”
He told West that he had ‘duped’ and ‘exploited’ the theft victim and had behaved in a ‘mean and selfish fashion’.
He added: “The plain fact of the matter is there are any number of people who have difficulty in managing their finances. They don’t turn to stealing from vulnerable victims as you did.”
Speaking after the case the theft victim’s 67-year-old nephew said his uncle had been badly affected.
“It doesn’t seem much of a sentence but it’s more about what he has gone through,” he said.
“It has really affected him and has been very distressing.”