Norfolk babysitter sentenced for stealing jewellery from employers and selling it on Ebay
15:35 05 September 2012
A trusted babysitter who stole hundreds of pounds worth of jewellery from her employers has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Amy Laing took a selection of items including a Tiffany bracelet, a wedding band and diamond rings before selling them “for a pittance” on auction website Ebay, King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard this morning (Wednesday).
The 23-year-old care home worker admitted two charges of theft between January 1, 2008 and August 19 this year and was sentenced to 28 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Laing, of Westgate Street in Shouldham, near Downham Market, was also ordered to pay her victims a total of £3,000 compensation for the sentimental items they lost.
Prosecutor Yvonne Neill said Laing had been hired as a child minder by a couple with a baby daughter in July last year.
Her employer noticed items including a gold watch and her wedding ring were missing after Laing had worked the 7am to 7pm shift between August 15 and August 18.
Ms Neill said the victim usually kept her wedding ring in her underwear drawer and began to search the house for it when she realised it had gone.
“Clearly it caused a lot of anxiety and stress,” she said.
Three rings, two watches and a phone charger were missing and the victim eventually “put two and two together,” challenging Laing in a telephone call, the court was told.
After initially denying any involvement, Laing panicked and admitted the thefts when the victim threatened to tell the care home where she worked, Ms Neill said.
A package from Laing containing a silver Armani watch and a cheque for £500 was delivered to the house by taxi that morning, but the victim had called the police.
Officers found some of the items had already been sold on Ebay and property worth £2,250 was still outstanding, Ms Neill said.
The court heard Laing had worked for another family with two young boys over a four-year period.
Her previous employer found she was missing a Tiffany bracelet, a diamond ring and a diamond and emerald ring when contacted and she remembered smaller items going missing at the time, including cash and computer games equipment.
The items were worth about £750 and in a statement, the victim said she felt shocked and betrayed Laing, Ms Neill said.
George Sorrell, mitigating, said Laing had given into temptation and taken the items while experiencing financial difficulties.
Her bank account had been overdrawn through “ordinary expenses” and she had not lived a lavish or extravagant lifestyle, he told the bench.
Although she lived with her parents and had friends, the court heard Laing was emotionally and geographically isolated and had felt unable to confide in anyone about her money worries.
Mr Sorrell said she had sold the items on Ebay for a pitiful amount and was truly remorseful for what she had done.
Laing was made the subject or a 12-month supervision order and must carry out 160 hours unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and complete a women’s emotional wellbeing course.