A CARER who stole more than £46,000 from a vulnerable elderly Hampshire couple to feed her drug addiction has been jailed.

Laura Pilley, 27, was given three years at Southampton Crown Court after admitting to targeting the couple after her mum got her a job caring for them.

The court heard how Pilley used credit cards belonging to Jeffrey and Gillian Thomas to withdraw cash to pay for drugs, hotel rooms and even two quad bikes.

Her partner Luke Olding, 36, helped and also appeared in court facing two charges of fraud but received a suspended sentence.

Pilley became a part-time carer for the couple last year after her mum Linda, who was Mr and Mrs Thomas’ neighbour, had previously been checking on the pair.

The court heard how Pilley, who was paid £200 to care for the couple, asked to live with them as her partner, Olding, had kicked her out of their home.

Pilley and Olding, both of Nelson Close, New Milton, would stay at the house regularly.

Drug paraphernalia, books on witchcraft and blood on the bedsheets were found in the Thomas’ spare room where Pilley was staying and the floor was in such a bad state that it had to be re-carpeted.

Pilley and Olding used the Thomas’ credit cards to buy two quad bikes for £1,198, which they then parked on the couple’s drive.

Mrs Thomas, in her 80s and registered blind, had just been in hospital for a hip operation and suffered a bout of pneumonia.

Her husband, 88, had recently suffered two strokes and has dementia, the court heard.

In October 2015, Barclaycard alerted police to £16,913 withdrawn from Mr Thomas’ credit card between May and July 2015.

Investigations found withdrawals made using cards belonging to Mr and Mrs Thomas for about five months of around £47,000.

Pilley admitted fraud, possession of criminal property and theft while Olding admitted two fraud counts and another matter of possessing criminal property.

Pilley got a 36-month jail term and must pay a “nominal amount” of £1 but if she comes into money may have to repay £46,134.

The banks involved in the case had borne the loss suffered by Mr and Mrs Thomas so any money repaid would go to them.