Convicted Robber Given Care Of Vulnerable Old Folk

A convicted armed robber stole hundreds of pounds from a disabled pensioner after being given a job caring for elderly and vulnerable people. The criminal – who had a string of convictions – was employed because agency staff failed to properly check his background. The mistake allowed Peter Hughes, 49, to worm his way into the trust of a disabled pensioner he was supposed to care for, before stealing his wallet and emptying his bank account of more than £500. Now social services bosses have vowed to clamp down on agencies in light of the blunder.

Hughes had already served two stretches in prison for attempted robbery when he got a job working for The Homecare Team in Portsmouth. Now agency bosses admitted they had made a ‘serious error’ in employing Hughes and said they ‘deeply regretted’ their mistake.

But at the same time it emerged that Hughes had worked for three other Portsmouth social care providers between 1999 and 2003 – Crescent Community Care Services, the Crescent Care home and Seaview Rest Home. The Crescent care home has since closed, while Crescent Community Care Services and the Seaview rest home are under different management.

Portsmouth City Council is to carry out a full investigation into the case and said it will no longer trust that agencies have carried out checks – instead it will demand written proof.

At Portsmouth Crown Court Hughes, of Duke Crescent, Buckland, Portsmouth, was jailed for 16 months after admitting two counts of theft and one count of obtaining property by deception.