Devon

Plymouth bingo addict stole from care home residents

A former care home manager who stole £90,000 from her residents to fund her bingo "addiction" is facing a jail sentence.

Jennie Preston pleaded guilty to eight charges of theft from residents of the Dewi-Sant Residential Home in Plymouth.

The 51-year-old of Stone Barton Close, Plympton, Plymouth, forged cheques and withdrew money from accounts of elderly residents with dementia.

Preston will be sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court on 22 July.

The court was told Preston stole money from four patients between 2008 and 2010 - in one case taking almost £42,000 from one patient alone.

The 32-bed care home in the Mannamead area of the city specialises in providing care for elderly patients and those with dementia.

Prosecutor Jo Martin told the court: "The victims had Alzheimer's or dementia of some description.

"They didn't suffer as a result of her theft but the theft will have caused them upset and concern and fear about trust."

Dewi-Sant, which is owned by Mannarest Limited, is described on the Plymouth City Council website as offering a "secure, relaxed and homely environment in which care, well-being and comfort are of prime importance".

In March 2010, the Quality Care Commission gave the home a two-star "good" rating, but a random inspection in July last year reported "significant and serious concerns about the safety and well-being of the people using this service".

A further inspection in September was also heavily critical of standards of care at the home.

'Considerably upset'

Preston, who also admitted one charge of false accounting, was released on bail. She is no longer employed by Mannarest.

The court was told Preston's son was currently serving with the RAF in Afghanistan.

Defence counsel Andrew Maitland said police had looked into Preston's online bingo habit as part of the investigation into the thefts.

"This form of addiction needs to be confirmed [before sentencing]," he said.

Judge Francis Gilbert warned Preston that she faced being jailed immediately for her thefts.

"It is obvious that some of them [the victims] will have been distressed and considerably upset," he told her.

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