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Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Fraudster Theresa Spice jailed after stealing from Age Concern charity shop volunteer Vera McGarvey

19 February 2014
by Paul Hooper

Convicted fraudster Theresa Spice was given a chance to repay society by working in a charity shop.

Instead, she used the opportunity to steal cash and jewels from a frail 92-year-old volunteer at the shop in Folkestone.

Now Spice, 44, has been jailed for six months after being told her crimes were "mean and despicable".

Age Concern shop. File picture

Age Concern shop. File picture

Iestyn Morgan, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court how the victim Vera McGarvey helped out at Age Concern Charity Shop.

In October last year as the two had finished work Spice offered the pensioner a lift home.

"When they got to her home address, Spice helped her into her property because of her age and helped her take off her jewellery.

"When Spice left the home she took the jewellery, worth nearly £850, with her, " he added.

Although Mrs McGarvey suspected her colleague she didn't report the theft because "she couldn't be sure," added the prosecutor.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

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But on November 14 the two women were working in the shop when £50 vanished from the pensioner's handbag.

Mr Morgan added: "There was a search and the money was found in Spice's purse. At the time she claimed it was her own money and no action was taken.

"But four days later Spice admitted to the manager that it was her who had taken the items."

By that time one of the stolen pieces of jewellery, an  18 carat gold necklace  - which had been sold to a second-hand shop - had been smelted down and couldn't be recovered.

Spice, of Roman Way, Folkestone, had been given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months in June 2012 for defrauding a 60-year-old stroke victim of nearly £20,000.

"Spice had been helping him in his home and had access to his bank accounts and when he was taken to hospital it was realised Spice had been secretly ripping him off for a year.

Part of the sentence required her to do unpaid work and she was asked to work for Age Concern.

"These were mean and despicable offences against a 92-year-old lady who you befriended" - Judge Adele Williams

Her lawyer Kerry Waite said: "She comes to the court with great trepidation and upset because the consequences of her going to prison would have on her accommodation."

But Judge Adele Williams told her she had taken the items to fund her cocaine and cannabis habit.

"These were mean and despicable offences against a 92-year-old lady who you befriended and you have committed similar offences in the past.

"You are a person who targets vulnerable people to steal jewellery or cash."

Spice, who admitted two thefts, was jailed for three months together with three months of the suspended sentence, making six months.

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