A FATHER and daughter duo made elderly and vulnerable people feel unsafe after taking money from them.

Gemma Smith was working as a carer for Bluebird Care Newbury and admitted to exploiting her position to swipe cash from a 94-year-old woman and a wallet from an 88-year-old man with dementia.

Fifty-two-year-old Robert Smith, who has a 'long history' of dishonesty, later used bank cards in the wallet to make several withdrawals before turning himself into police.

His daughter denied any wrongdoing until the day of her trial and said she did not understand why she was being blamed.

The pair both avoided going to prison 'by a hair's breadth' and were ordered to perform unpaid work requirements at Reading Crown Court on Wednesday, June 6.

Judge Maria Lamb, addressing the 22-year-old carer, said: "A proper carer who was honest and trustworthy blamed himself went the wallet went missing and was worried he would be accused.

"This was a position of high trust and although it may not have been a lot of money it was enough to mean something to the victims involved.

"It is about as distressing as it can be for an elderly person. Perhaps you will have the guts to do it [take responsibility] but if it is just tears for the court then that is up to you."

The court heard extracts of a victim personal statement from one of the victim's daughters, who described the actions as 'despicable.'

It added: "For a person of trust who we have let into our home is a despicable thing worse than a burglar because of that trust."

Robert Smith, of Anton Drive, Andover, admitted to one count of receiving stolen goods and three counts of fraud and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

He received a sentence totalling six months, which was suspended for 18 months.

Gemma Smith, of Farm Road, Andover, admitted two counts of theft by employee and was sentenced to 14 months' in prison, also suspended for 18 months.

She was ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement for 20 days.