A CARE worker has been spared jail after defrauding a vulnerable man out of £1,250.

Nicole Bailey was trusted to look after of a man with learning disabilities at the care home, when she swindled him out of his money.

Theale-based Dimensions care home reimbursed the full amount to the 64-year-old victim and Bailey, 41, has been ordered to pay this back.

The court heard how Bailey had specifically targeted the man, who had learning and hearing impairments and required care despite a degree of independence.

She admitted to the offences on what was supposed to be the first day of her trial, having previously tried to pin the blame on her line manager.

Judge Edward Burgess QC said: "Your victim had mild learning difficulties and hearing problems. He needed help with larger transactions.

"You cynically exploited that vulnerability and the relationship and trust you had with him. There were clear rules in place as to how that money was to be withdrawn and managed.

"It was only at the first day of trial that you admitted to the offence. I am in no doubt your culpability is high.

"Your victim you deliberately targeted on the basis of his vulnerability and there is a high level of victim impact. Other aggravating factors include attempts to conceal and blame others."

In mitigation, defence barrister Rhiannon Sadler cited her previous good character and her commitment to her children after a previous abusive relationship.

Bailey, of Sheepcote Road, Windsor, was handed a nine-month sentence, suspended for 18 months at Reading Crown Court.

She must also complete an Unpaid Work Requirement of 120 hours and 10 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

Judge Burgess added: "You are the prime carer of young children, have no previous convictions and are of previous good character.

"I am told you are remorseful. I must place this offending in that context.

"In my judgement, the starting point would have been 10 months in jail. You are entitled to some credit as you admitted the offence on the first day of the trial.

"In my view, nothing other than custodial sentence can be justified in this case, but the right course to take is to spare you immediate imprisonment."