A STRETFORD cleaner who stole more than £7,000 from her vulnerable employer has been handed a suspended sentence.

Denise Hill, 52, of Kings Road, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was sentenced to 16 months suspended at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, on May 8.

Hill was employed as a cleaner for a woman with learning difficulties who lived in Stretford with her 91-year-old mother, who also suffered from poor health and hearing.

Over time Hill gained the women’s trust and begun to look after them in an unofficial capacity as a carer, which included managing their finances.

Hill would often take the younger woman into town for her to withdraw money from her two bank accounts.

She was paid between £30 and £40 a week from mid-2012 onwards, and eventually left the family's employment in June 2013 after she broke her wrist in an accident.

It was only when the mother and daughter moved home that they realised Hill had used the victim’s bank card to withdraw a total of £7,700 from two bank accounts to which she had access via a debit card.

The police were then called and an investigation launched.

Det Con Andy Devonshire, from Greater Manchester Police's Volume Fraud Team, said: "These cases are often the most saddening we deal with in our office.

"There can simply be no justification, no defence and no excuse to steal from someone who places their utmost trust in you as this family did with Hill.

“She was given a position of responsibility by a vulnerable woman and her frail mum and to say she violated that trust would be an understatement.

"Aside from the financial loss, it is the emotional side of things of having someone you trusted so much let you down so badly that has hurt the victim and her mum.

"Temptation may be there for people who are given responsibility for managing the finances of elderly and vulnerable people, but if you do abuse this trust and take a slice for yourself you are not only committing a despicable act of theft but Greater Manchester Police and the courts will pursue you until you have been brought to justice."