A CARE worker admitted stealing £500 from two vulnerable adults she was looking after.

Elaine Hanson, 40 of Barnoldswick, withdrew the cash from the bank account of Gillian Fox and Susan Barsby over a 12-month period.

She had been employed to help the two women manage their money and was responsible for keeping a record of deposits and withdrawals.

Hanson, of Gisburn Street, admitted theft when she faced Skipton magistrates.

Caroline Midgeley, prosecuting, said the defendant had been a team co-ordinator for a company providing support for adults with learning difficulties.

Hanson had handled Miss Fox and Miss Barsby’s bank account, which was used for paying their household bills and shopping.

Hanson would accompany one of the account holders to the bank, make payments and deposits on their behalf and record on a balance sheet how much was spent.

The thefts were discovered when a number of transactions on the balance sheet failed to add up.

Hanson admitted stealing the money for her own use when police interviewed her and had already repaid £250.

She was given a 12-month community order with 60 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay back the remaining £250.

Keith Rennison, defending, said Hanson, who had no previous convictions, had experienced financial difficulties and began stealing the money to pay for petrol to get to work.

Hanson’s partner had been made redundant in 2009 and had turned to gambling, which made their problems worse.

Mr Rennison said Hanson, who has three children and had worked in the industry for 21 years, was under stress and dipped into her clients’ account as a last resort.