A COUPLE who stole more than £70,000 from vulnerable relatives have been ordered to pay back the cash under confiscation orders.

Jane Martin and Steven Collins were described as ‘despicable’ by a judge who jailed them for three years and four years respectively at Bournemouth Crown Court last summer.

Since then police have used the Proceeds of Crime Act to secure orders to repay the money, stolen from Martin’s brother, who has learning difficulties, and from her 87-year-old mother, who lived in a nursing home and suffered from dementia.

Martin, 52, was ordered to pay £34,479 and 53-year-old Collins must pay £34,449.

If they fail to pay up they face a further 18 months in jail and will still owe the debt.

Since the couple, from Red Barn Farm, Blandford were convicted, Martin’s mother has passed away but the money will be used to compensate her 56-year-old brother and her mother’s estate.

Police have also secured a confiscation order of £4,729 against former mental health support worker Symon West, 52, from Weymouth who was jailed for 25 weeks in July last year for stealing money supposedly raised for charity.

Both of West’s victims have since died but their estates will be reimbursed.

Detective sergeant Andrew Kennard of the Dorset Police Economic Crime Unit said: “We will take every available opportunity to deprive criminals of their illegal gain to directly compensate victims of crime.

“We will ensure offenders are held to account and victims are put first.

“We hope this sends out a clear message to offenders that they will be dealt with through the courts and forced to pay for their crimes.”