A CARE home worker who stole from the residents she was supposed to be looking after has escaped an immediate prison sentence.

Julie Jones, 59, plundered a watch of sentimental value from one man – who has since died –while employed at the Llanyravon Court Care Home in Cwmbran.

Wendy Howells-Smith told Newport Crown Court in a victim impact statement how she felt “sick” when she discovered her late father Kenneth’s carer had been stealing from her.

Prosecutor Peter Donnison said that as well as the watch, Jones had also pinched from Mr Howells’ room, an electric razor, bottle of Captain Morgan's rum, bottle of whiskey, wallet and silver alarm clock.

She had also stolen a number of “low value items”, including a bra, dressing gown and glasses from other residents while working at the home between February 2017 and April 2018.

Mr Donnison said Jones, of Maendy Way, Cwmbran, was caught by a fellow member of staff as she tried to steal a box at the end of her shift.

It contained incontinence pads belonging to the home, a blanket, dressing gown, Christmas decorations and plates of sandwiches.

While the police were on their way, he said, the defendant had also tried to hide a radio alarm clock behind a sofa in the foyer.

When officers searched Jones’ home, the judge heard, they discovered more items taken from her workplace and that she was a “hoarder” and how two rooms were full of assorted goods and items.

The defendant pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft and two of attempted theft.

Some of the personal items the defendant stole were of “sentimental value” to her victims and all were recovered.

Mrs Howells-Smith told the court she had thought Jones “nice and someone who took an interest in my Dad”.

She added: “They were of no use to anyone else. They had no monetary value. It baffles me why she would steal them.”

Mr Donnison read a victim personal statement from Graham Taylor, whose mother Enid was a victim.

He said: “We are upset and disappointed that Julie Jones would betray our trust and treat us this way.”

Mr Donnison said that although Jones had no previous convictions, she did have a caution from 2017 for the theft of £124 worth of goods from a shop.

Julia Cox, mitigating, said her client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

She told the court that the defendant was suffering from a number of health problems and said she had leukaemia and mental health problems.

Miss Cox added that Jones was “suspended from her post” at the care home and said “it will be unlikely she will be entitled to a job of a similar background”.

She is now living on income support and personal independence payments from the state.

Recorder Lucy Crowther told the defendant: “You repeatedly stole items from vulnerable residents. You were caught dragging a box out of the care home.

“You were in a position of trust and you betrayed that trust in the most terrible way.”

The judge jailed Jones for six months, suspended for two years, and ordered her to carry out a 20-day rehabilitation and activity requirement.