A SCARBOROUGH man who stole thousands of pounds from an elderly relative has escaped an immediate prison sentence.
Dennis Anthony Wedge, 56, of Castle Road, admitted taking £2,050 from his auntie Eileen Stingemore from May 2009 to May 2011.
He appeared at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court for sentencing after pleading guilty at a previous hearing.
The court heard how Wedge had gone to live with Eileen after his own house was repossessed.
Kathryn Reeve, prosecuting, said that family members raised concerns following Eileen’s death at the age of 74, after seeing her bank account was overdrawn.
Bank statements were obtained which showed that £22,850 had been withdrawn between June 2009 and May 2011.
It was calculated that the defendant had stolen £2,050, and spent it on “booze and gambling”, according to statements made to the police.
Miss Reeve said: “He had access to her cash card and said ‘it was there so I just took it’.”
Peter Maynard, mitigating, said his client’s offence was “completely out of character” and that he had shown remorse.
He added that Wedge, who works at McCain, had offered to pay back the money and would not be able to do that if he was sent to prison.
Mr Maynard also argued in favour of a community order, so his client could perhaps receive support from probation services for alcohol misuse and gambling.
Magistrates gave the defendant a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
He was also given a community order with 12 months’ supervision and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Wedge was also ordered to pay back £2,050 to Eileen Stingemore’s estate.
On delivering sentence, chairman of the bench, Ann Clarke, said: “This was a high degree breach of trust of a family member who was vulnerable.”
Giving her reaction to the case, Wedge’s cousin Bridgett Sprintall, of Moorland Road, said: “In my eyes, nothing that he got would have compensated for what he did to Eileen.
“She was my auntie, but she was like a mum to me.
“She was so kind and never said a bad word about anybody.
“What Dennis did broke my heart. It has stopped us from being able to grieve for her properly.”