Planted notes helped snare a cleaner who stole from the elderly pensioner she worked for.

Tara-Jade Mcaulay, of Hamilton Terrace, Milford Haven, pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday, January 21.

The court heard that she stole £45 from the 84 year-old pensioner she was cleaning for in Hakin on July 15.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said: “It was suspected she may have been taking some cash from his premises while cleaning. The complainant’s son put some notes in his dad’s shirt pocket in the bedroom, and made a note of the serial numbers.”

The money disappeared while Mcaulay was cleaning at the property and the police were contacted.

Mr Pritchard-Jones added: “The money was not recovered, as it is believed she had already spent it.

“It is a significant breach of trust. She took advantage of the situation to steal from him.”

Mcaulay, 33, admitted the theft when interviewed, and the court heard she was remorseful and ashamed of her behaviour.

The bench was told Mcaulay had cleaned for the victim for a few weeks, and decided to take the money because she was in financial hardship.

Following a report from the probation service, magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She was ordered to pay £220 in compensation, costs and a surcharge.