A CLEANER stole pensioners’ gold rings, including a wedding ring, to melt down for cash in what was branded “a despicable act”.
Angela Mary Watson, 39, of Maes Hyfred, Rhosrobin, preyed on her victims while working in their homes.
She stole the rings to help pay off debts – which at one point reached £6,000.
At Wrexham Magistrates Court John Wylde, prosecuting, said that between September 30 and December 12 Watson stole a gold wedding ring belonging to Ellen Tinniswood, of Acton Hall Walks, three gold rings belonging to Ida Turley, of Hampshire Drive, and four gold rings belonging to Sonya Wills, of Hampshire Drive.
The victims were all over 77 years old. The items were of immense sentimental value, the court heard, and as some of the victims watched proceedings they were close to tears.
None of the jewellery was recovered or able to be returned to the victims as Watson had already sold it on to be melted down.
Bethan Jones, defending, said: “She is a lady who served in the armed forces for years, but left when she had her first child.
“She then fell into a series of low paid jobs, was involved in an abusive relationship, abused narcotics and was left with a great deal of debt.
“Going into 2013 she was in a desperate state. She was looking at eviction from her home and buried her head in the sand, entering the criminal world. She is already serving a suspended sentence.”
Magistrates spared Watson a jail sentence.
Chairman of the bench Gwyneth Williams said: “You have abused a position of trust, stealing jewellery of immense sentimental value from vulnerable, elderly people.
“It was planned, it was calculated and it was a despicable act on your part, which will remain in their memory for the rest of their lives.
“The jewellery cannot be replaced and the memory cannot be erased.”
Watson was given a five month suspended sentence for each of the three charges of theft, which she admitted. The sentence will run concurrently with a suspended sentence she received in January.
She was also given a community order running until March, 2015 and ordered to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work.
Watson was also ordered to pay a total of £440 compensation to her victims.