- Claire Jones was spotted stealing loose change and groceries on laptop camera
- She was caring for bed-bound Anita Dubique-Ashton, 49, at the time of thefts
- Jones sentenced to 26 weeks, suspended 12 months, and ordered to pay £750
This is the shocking moment a carer was filmed stealing from a bedridden MS patient after the victim's family set up a hidden camera.
Claire Jones, 42, was caught on camera eyeing up household items before putting them into a plastic bag.
She then brazenly wrapped her coat around the carrier bag to hide the stolen groceries.
Jones was looking after bed-bound Anita Dubique-Ashton, 49, when she stole items from her home.
However, her ill-gotten gains were short-lived after she was caught in the act by Mrs Dubique-Ashton's husband Steve Ashton - who planted cameras in their home.
Jones had no idea she was being filmed on the hidden device and was arrested by police.She later pleaded guilty to three counts of theft but narrowly avoided jail after being handed a suspended sentence at Warrington Magistrates' Court.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Ashton said he presumed loose change, cash and groceries which went missing in January this year had been taken by his children.
He said: 'We were initially concerned that one of our children had been stealing from us which hurt.
'But on further review, I determined that for some of the thefts only Claire had the opportunity.
'I set my laptop to record the area where my work bag was situated.
'I had purposely put two-pound coins in a plastic money bag and a five-pound note into the pocket of my work bag.
'I reviewed the laptop's recording later that day - Claire was seen searching through all the pockets of my work bag,
'She would have had no reason to go into my bag, she initially walked away without taking anything to later return and take the bag with the two pounds.'
The dad-of-two, from Woolston near Warrington, also caught Jones stealing groceries worth a total of £13 after snooping around the family's kitchen.
He said: 'The camera showed that this wasn't theft when an opportunity arose.
'It was predatory behaviour where the personal assistant was checking coat pockets and bags.'
Jones was sentenced on Tuesday to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
She must also carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £750 in court costs, fines and compensation.
Hannah Houghton, defending, told a court Jones was 'disgusted in herself'.
She said: 'It was a reckless and silly decision and the gain to herself was minimal. She took £7 in cash and the goods totalled £13.'
But district judge Bridget Knight slammed Jones for taking advantage of the victim, who is now fearful of trusting other carers.
She said: 'This shows a woman who has spent a large part of her life looking after those in need and the hurtful part of this case is she was regarded as a close friend by Mrs Dubique-Ashton.
'It is a very gross breach of trust.'