Care home woman 'faces jail'

A care home manager could face jail after admitting breaching her position of trust by squirreling away more than £9,000 in client fees and grocery funds into her own coffers.

A care home manager could face jail after admitting breaching her position of trust by squirreling away more than £9,000 in client fees and grocery funds into her own coffers.

Tracey Simkins pleaded guilty to stealing £9,167 from the Windmill Care Home in Rollesby, near Yarmouth, while she worked there from June 2006 to early October.

The 30-year-old single mother of three from The Street, Thurne, also admitted to stealing £75 from one of the home's elderly vulnerable residents, Hilda Smith.

Yarmouth magistrates' court heard that one of Simkins' theft was discovered after care home owner Pravin Patel went to the Post Office and was told he owed £600 in unpaid grocery payments.

Sara Borthwick, prosecuting, said that it then emerged that thousands of pounds in client fees had not been paid to the care home bank account but had been ferreted away by Simkins instead.

Ms Borthwick said that it was Simkins' responsibility to handle fees and the grocery account but she had used her position of trust to take a 'vast sum of money' instead for herself.

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She said: “The money had been directed towards the defendant rather than being directed towards the care home.”

Simkins, who has no previous convictions and is formerly of Belton, will be sentenced for the thefts on Tuesday.

Chairman of the bench Ben Barnes warned her that she could be sent to prison for her crimes by saying: “Custody remains an option and will be considered.”

Mr Patel, speaking after the hearing, said it was the first time in 20 years that a member of staff had been arrested for theft and he had now installed procedures in place to make sure nothing similar ever happened again.

As soon as he was aware of the theft allegations Mr Patel sacked Simkins and contacted all the families of the residents staying at the home to inform them of what had been happening.

He said: “She has betrayed my trust and abused the position I gave her. I believe that if you steal from somebody you deserve to pay a high price and go to prison.”

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