Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 11:20 UK

Teddy camera catches carer thief

Teddy bear used to hide camera
The 55 camera was placed inside one of the teddy bear's eyes

A forensic science graduate and her father caught his terminally ill mother's care assistant stealing by putting a camera in a teddy bear's eye.

Robert Sampson, 46, and Emma, 21, fixed the tiny camera in the Liverpool home of his mother Thelma Sampson, 75.

Last week, care assistant Yvonne Allen, 28, of Halewood, Liverpool, was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of theft.

Mr Sampson said his mother, who has cancer, was pleased about the sentence.

Mr Sampson and his daughter, who has just graduated from the University of Central Lancashire, set up the camera when Mrs Sampson noticed money going missing from her purse at her home in Walton.

She has seen justice before she dies
Robert Sampson

Mr Sampson said: "My mother has end-stage leukaemia and we had to get a carer in who worked for the primary care trust (PCT).

"The next day my mum said 40 had gone out of her purse."

"Emma wrote down the serial numbers on three 20 notes in my mum's purse and we got a 55 camera from the local DIY store.

"Emma said the camera lens was just like the eye of the teddy bear in the house so we put the camera inside.

"We thought it would be a long process but she was greedy.

"We called the police and showed them the footage and gave them the serial numbers."

New carer

Allen has agreed to pay 60 compensation to Mrs Sampson.

Mr Sampson said: "She (Thelma) has seen justice before she dies. She was glad to hear the sentence."

Mr Sampson also said his mother now had a new carer.

Bernie Cuthel, managing director of Liverpool PCT Provider Services, said: "We can confirm that a former health care assistant, employed by the Provider arm of Liverpool Primary Care Trust has been arrested and convicted of stealing from a patient.

"Liverpool Primary Care Trust has fully supported Merseyside Police in this investigation and the member of staff involved was immediately suspended following their arrest.

"Following information from the courts that the employee involved was pleading guilty to all charges, an internal disciplinary hearing was held and this person is no longer employed by Liverpool PCT."

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