A carer stole more than £16,000 in cash and personal possessions from an elderly stroke victim in the Cotswolds in just eight days working for them, a court heard on Thursday.

Florin Lacatus, 23, from Reading, moved into the Evenlode home of an elderly couple in July 2019 and began stealing almost immediately, Gloucester crown court was told.

Lacatus was employed by Bright Dawn Home Care to provide 24 hour care for a man who suffered a severe stroke which left him paralysed down the left side of his body and dramatically reduced his ability to communicate, said the prosecutor.

In a victim statement, the man's wife said: “I felt completely shocked that a carer, a trusted person from the agency, would steal from us. I felt completely puzzled by this.

“I was horrified that Lacatus entered my bedroom, which he was not entitled to do, and invaded my privacy.”

She continued: “My husband summed up everything that has gone on in a single word, ‘horrible’. I want Lacatus stopped so he cannot target any more vulnerable people.”

The prosecutor said Lacatus started work for the couple on July 29, 2019 and four days later their daughter received a call from NatWest Bank saying suspicious activity had been detected on her parents' joint account.

It later transpired that between July 29 and August 6, 2019, there were 50 fraudulent transactions on both the elderly couple’s Barclays and NatWest accounts along with two separate HSBC accounts totalling £4,228, including two payable to Lacatus’ landlords in Reading, the prosecutor said.

Lacatus also managed to cash two cheques totalling £6,750, the court was told.

Bright Dawn Home Care contacted the daughter of the victims the same day stating that Lacatus’ mother had been involved in an accident in Germany and she needed her son there, the prosecutor said.

Lacatus left the next day and was taken to the airport.

The prosecutor continued that on August 4, the Cotswold couple's daughter noticed her father’s mobile phone and speakers had gone missing along with a wallet containing bank cards, jewellery and three blank cheques.

When Lacatus was arrested in Reading three days later, he was found with the stolen wallet and bank cards in the name of the male victim, and his wife's pearl necklace with a ruby clasp.

The court was told that after Lacatus was released under police investigation, he emptied his bank account and left the country.

He was finally arrested again by police on February 4, 2020 in relation to the theft of a cheque in the Dorset area on July 19, 2019 – just before he started working for the Cotswold couple.

Philip Sutton, defending said: “Lacatus’ mother has since been diagnosed with life-limiting cancer and if he receives a prison sentence today he is unlikely to see her ever again.”

The judge, Recorder Malcolm Gibney told Lacatus: “Your role in all this was high because this was a deliberate abuse of trust in which your targeted vulnerable victims for your financial gain.”

He sentenced Lacatus to three years in prison.