A support worker has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for fraud after he stole more than £10,000 from people who he was meant to look after.
Nigel Evans, 40, was found guilty of fraud by abuse of position of trust and he was sentenced yesterday (January 25) at Bristol Crown Court.
Evans, who worked for Supported Independence, stole money from two people in his care, both of whom have learning difficulties.
His trial heard that the father-of-two made bank transfers from his victims' accounts behind their backs, and squandered the money on holdiays and online shopping.
One victim said: “He wasn’t just my support worker, he was my friend or at least I thought so. I have lost trust in people and have started to question everyone.”
PC Louise Peglar said: “The effect that crimes of this nature have on people with learning difficulties or mental health issues is devastating.
“They are in a position where they are working hard to live independently and have no choice but to rely on some support to achieve that.
“To then abuse that trust that has been built between a service user and support worker is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Nicola Stanworth, area manager for Supported Independence, said of one victim: “He found it very difficult to focus on anything as he was totally consumed by what had happened to him.
“Nigel was his support worker and in a position of trust. Due to this he found it very difficult to trust anyone and ran away from a social worker who visited to offer support. He could not get his head around how someone who was supposed to help him could do this.
"It has been extremely traumatic. Both the victims are currently being given extra support.”