A WOMAN who looked after an elderly pensioner took advantage of her in "a most despicable way".

Magistrates heard that the elderly woman thought of 63-year-old Carol Whitehead as a friend, but she helped herself to her cash, stealing a total of £520 between April 23 and May 13.

At Wigan Magistrates' Court Whitehead, aged 63, of Heywood Street, Little Lever, pleaded guilty to theft of the money.

Sentencing her to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, magistrates told her: "This was a serious breach of trust.

"You were in a position of care for this elderly lady who thought of you as a friend.

"She would have been devastated to learn that you had been stealing from her in such a targeted manner.

"She was vulnerable and you took advantage of her in a most despicable way."

But the court heard that it was Whitehead's first offence and she has made reparation to the victim.

She was ordered to participate in 15 days of rehabilitation activities, pay £200 in compensation and £213 in costs.