A CARER has been jailed for eight months after stealing from a vulnerable, elderly woman.

Paula Piper, 41, answered an advert in a store from an 86-year-old woman asking for help with her care and shopping.

The woman offered £10 a visit because she needed help at her Southend home.

But once there, Piper took her debit card and used it twice to buy goods. She also doctored a cheque for £10 to £100 and paid it into a bank account.

Later, Piper told the woman she had found her lost debit card in her car, and accepted a £10 reward.

Piper, of Caroline Close, Southend, appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court, where she pleaded guilty to theft and three counts of fraud.

Lesley Chipps, prosecuting, said of the victim: “She is a vulnerable lady, displays some signs of confusion and she has to use a walking stick.”

She also read out a statement from the victim, which said: “I have become very cautious about my bank card and using it. I’ve also been nervous about who comes in my home at night. It makes me feel very vulnerable.”

She also said she was now worried to shop at her local store, in case she saw Piper, and is confused about getting a new bank account and pin number.

In mitigation, Roger Neild said his client was under stress because two of her children are remanded in custody.

He added: “She simply did wrong, but she made amends by admitting it to the police and pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.”