A MOTHER-of-two who carried out an "appalling" robbery on a dementia sufferer in her own home has been jailed for 10 years.

Scheming Vanessa Daly, 53, burst into the home of Janice O'Brien after 11pm at night, armed with a hammer and with a pair of tights over her head, Preston Crown Court was told.

Daly dragged Mrs O'Brien around her sheltered accommodation by her hair, demanding to know where she kept her valuables, the court heard.

The victim was left so petrified that her housing association had to move her from her Padiham bungalow into a home.

Jailing Daly, Judge Philip Parry said: "You not only stole her bank cards that night but you stole her independence and her peace of mind."

The judge had earlier been told that this was not the first time that Daly, of Angelesey Avenue, Burnley, who pleaded guilty to the robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, as well as fraud, had targeted a vulnerable elderly woman.

Back in 2012 she called at the home of 77-year-old Joyce Sharples, initially asking for a glass of water.

But when the OAP went to help her, she walked into her home uninvited and began demanding money.

Daly, who snatched handbags after her bedroom before shoving her to the floor, was eventually jailed for 54 months for that attack.

Stephen Parker said that in the most recent case, Mrs O'Brien had fallen victim to a cruel thief, who talked their way into her home, in June this year.

She lost £200 but no-one was ever prosecuted over the incident. But her vulnerability caused police to install CCTV at her property.

The court heard these cameras caught Daly in the act, as she ripped Mrs O'Brien's house apart, looking for something to steal.

Mr Parker said at one point she could be seen slapping the victim forcibly about the head.

She also struck the dementia sufferer's shoulder with the hammer, the court was told.

Once Daly had secured her bank cards, she went to a nearby cash machine, in a bid to withdraw money, but was unsuccessful.

Mr Parker said she returned to the house at least twice more, as she demanded the PIN numbers from the householder.

Philip Holden, defending, said when his client had not been taking her medication, for anxiety and psychosis, she was a caring animal lover.

He told the court Daly was remorseful about her actions and had completed a number of courses while on remand at Styal Prison, dealing with victim empathy.

But the court heard Daly admitted she had been "intoxicated to oblivion" when she called on Mrs O'Brien and could recollect little about the robbery.