'Helpful cashier' from Chatteris stole nearly £8,000 from elderly people while working at Nationwide in Ely, Ramsey, St Neots and St Ives
PUBLISHED: 17:21 24 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:21 24 December 2019
A "helpful cashier" from Chatteris who stole nearly £8,000 from three elderly and vulnerable people has been sentenced.
Helen Day, of Tern Gardens, targeted her victims who were vulnerable due to age, degenerative diseases or both.
Day, 47, worked for Nationwide Building Society for 16 years until she resigned in April last year.
From August 2016, Day worked at the Huntingdon branch but also helped out at the Ramsey, St Neots, Ely and St Ives branches.
Between February 2017 and January 2018, Day used her cashier's terminal to withdraw thousands of pounds from her victims' building society accounts.
Investigations later revealed these withdrawals were not authorised by the account owners and, on some occasions, they were not even present in the branch at the time.
Sometimes Day would serve another customer at the same time as fraudulently withdrawing the cash.
Day asked for personal information from her victims and then used the answers to their security questions to withdraw the money.
Suspicions were first raised in January last year after one of Day's victims flagged up a withdrawal of £2,000 from her account she did not request and did not receive the cash for.
On the same day as that suspicious withdrawal, Day left work but returned a minute later and deposited £1,000 in £20 notes into her own bank account.
She was interviewed by Nationwide investigators two months later over the suspicious activity with her victim's account.
Day denied taking the cash but could not provide an explanation as to where this money had gone. She resigned a month later before she could be asked any further questions.
Further checks were made by the bank's investigators and it was later discovered that Day had made similar withdrawals from the accounts of two other victims.
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All the withdrawals were made from either the Huntingdon or Ramsey building society branches.
Months of enquiries and CCTV investigations revealed the extent of Day's offending and transactions totalling £7,860 were identified.
The case was referred to the police in May last year after investigators compiled an extensive evidential report.
Officers searched Day's home in July 2018 and discovered she was living beyond her means, with a brand new kitchen, brand new iPhones and high end electrical goods.
Day was interviewed the same day, where she denied the offences and said the missing cash was down to a "catalogue of errors".
However, she then pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation at Peterborough Crown Court on October 10.
DC James Howard, who investigated, said: "Day took advantage of her elderly and vulnerable customers who trusted her with their accounts.
"She betrayed that trust by acting as a helpful cashier while stealing thousands of pounds from them.
"I would like to reassure the public that she has been struck off the financial services register and will never work in the financial sector again.
"Nationwide have also reimbursed the victims and have recovered their losses from Day's company pension.
"This case serves as an excellent example of partnership working between the police and financial services to safeguard some of the most vulnerable in our community.
"It was Nationwide Investigator Roger Crawley's outstanding investigation before referring the case to us that gathered the evidence necessary to secure Day's conviction."
Day was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court yesterday (December 23) where she was handed 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
She was also ordered to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, including 12 mental health treatment sessions