AN ELDERLY woman was swindled out of hundreds of pounds after her live-in carer stole cash from her over the course of two months, a court heard.

Tracey Hughes, of Throwley Forstal, Faversham, Kent, denies one count of theft alleged to have taken place at her alleged victim's Kidlington home between November 7 and December 29 2016.

Prosecutors at Oxford Crown Court allege that the 56-year old stole cash from the woman, Linda New, who is in her 60s, totalling about £230.

Detailing the case at the start of the trial yesterday prosecutor Alexandra Bull told the jury panel of nine men and three women that Hughes had scammed her victim by making small transactions.

She said: "The case is that Miss Hughes had access to her account and was helping herself to small amounts, hoping no one would notice as she carried out her duties as a live-in carer."

The court heard that Hughes was first employed to live and work as a carer at the alleged victim's home by a carers firm called Enable Health.

She was appointed after a positive interview with Mrs New's eldest daughter Joanna Lishman, the court heard, and it was agreed she was entitled to one cooked meal and had access to Mrs New's debit and credit cards but would keep receipts.

Taking to the witness box yesterday Ms Lishman said: "She had access to them, that was our agreement, that it was for her to go to the shops and buy the general groceries and used with anything my mother required.

"It was under the proviso that she kept receipts and logged anything. Anything that was costly to give myself or my sister a call to check."

She went on to say that not long after hiring Hughes in October her behaviour began to change in the house.

She said: "It tailed off in terms of her commitment and enthusiasm. I had asked her to attend a hospital appointment so she could help feed into the consultant an she said she was not coming, she was staying at home to do some cleaning.

"She was always in the room, she didn't leave us with my mother to have our conversations."

She added that in the beginning she thought Hughes was 'really nice' but that as time went on Ms Lishman started to become 'annoyed and suspicious' that things were not quite right.

In one instance, she told jurors, Hughes told her not to check her bank balance as it would 'ruin her Christmas present' which made her feel 'concerned'.

Jurors were also told by prosecutors that when interviewed by police about the alleged thefts Hughes claimed she could not remember making the withdrawals but that she would have done so if asked by her employer.

Hughes also said that she was not aware she had to keep receipts and was not very good at keeping records, the court heard.

The trial continues.