SHE appeared to be the model good samaritan.

She volunteered at a Cancer Research UK charity shop and helped a vulnerable elderly woman in need after the death of her husband.

But Susan Barcock stole more than £8,000 from them both.

On Friday, the 52-year-old, of Peninsula House, O’Leary Street, Orford, was told she would not go to prison for her deception after pleading guilty to three counts of theft and one of false representation.

Warrington Crown Court heard how Barcock was finally rumbled when her 78-year-old victim noticed her bank statement showed withdrawals she knew nothing about.

And when police searched her home they unearthed personal diaries dating from 2008 brazenly detailing daily amounts of money she had taken from the Sankey Street charity shop for herself.

In total she pocketed £2,127 from the charity shop.

Martin McRobb, prosecuting, said: “Had it never been for her personal diary entries which formed all the evidence there would have been no evidence against her.

“She aroused suspicion while she was at this particular place of work but nothing had been proven.

“In interview when confronted with her diary, the defendant could do little more than admit to the police she had stolen this money.”

Last year she befriended her second victim and offered to help around the home. She would go on to steal £6,356 from her.

At first Barcock took £2,200 in cash from her home.

Police were alerted that the money was missing but the defendant found a further £2,850 in the property and banked it on her victim’s behalf.

“At that stage it simply looked as if the defendant had been a good samaritan and banked the money,” added Mr McRobb.

“The defendant was also advised by the police not to go to see this woman for fear she may be accused again. But she carried on visiting from May to August.”

The court heard how Barcock was of previous good character and had held a managerial position before she lost her job in 2006.

Natalia Cornwall, defending, said: “She fully recognises the seriousness of this offence. She has led an honest lifestyle but it wasn’t until 2006 that this defendant started to have difficulties in her life.

“She is extremely sorry for what she did.”

Judge Nicholas Woodward, presiding over the matter, said: “She lost her job and she became poor and she struggled to deal with that.”

Barcock has given up her car to help pay back the money taken.

Sentencing her to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months for each count to run concurrently, Judge Woodward said: “You are the kind of person she would look to for help.”

Barcock is also subject to a six-month curfew from 6pm to 6am and a 12-month supervision order and was told to pay £125 compensation to each victim.

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