A TIMPERLEY pensioner fainted in the dock after being jailed for three months for stealing £800 from residents at a special needs charity.

Brenda Hiorns, 69, of Ridgeway Road, had been the manageress of Norwood residential home in Timperley, which cares for vulnerable adults with severe learning difficulties, and is run by Sale and Altrincham Mencap.

From August 2007 to May 2008 she used the home's housekeeping fund to buy herself household goods and then forged petty cash vouchers to cover up her thefts - even forging colleagues' signatures.

The items she bought included a Nintento WII and a microwave.

At Minshull Street Crown Court Hiorns, who worked for Mencap from 2002 until last year, walked into the dock with a walking stick and pleaded guilty to theft, fraud and falsifying accounts.

The court heard that Hiorns had a previous conviction for dishonesty in May 1983.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: "Though it was some 26 or 27 years ago when you last appeared before the court for offences of a similar nature, even in those days the court tried to impose that they are very serious offences which involved a breach of trust.

"Here you are, aged 69, 68 at the time when you committed these offences, stealing again from your employer. Stealing from not just an ordinary employer, but from a charity.

"But it was Mencap who was running that home, funded by members of the public for them to do the good work. And there you were, stealing the money that belonged to them - not your employer, but the people they cared for.”

Brian Berlyne, prosecuting, said: “The defendant had sole control over the financial management of the home. She did not allow staff to have access to money. If the staff wished to purchase items for the home or for a resident, they would request cash from the defendant. They gave the receipt to her, and they had to sign a petty cash voucher.”

On Tuesday Hiorn's husband Colin declined to comment but a spokesperson from Sale and Altrincham Mencap said: "We do not tolerate any kind of abuse towards people with a learning disability.

''We take financial abuse extremely seriously and will reimburse all those affected, until the costs can be recovered through the courts, and will continue to support them."