The vilest thieves in Scotland? Carers £1m from frail relatives

A former social work boss claims greedy relatives steal £1million a year from elderly family members.

Ex West Dunbartonshire Council social work director Tim Huntingford said: “As shocking as that figure sounds, studies indicate it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“Abuse of the elderly is a taboo subject, something we don’t want to believe is going on under our very noses.

“But there are as many as 33,000 cases a year in Scotland which come to the attention of local authorities. And if the public were more aware of what to look out for, I think there would be thousands more.”

Last month, a TV ad to raise awareness about abuse of elderly people prompted 425 calls to a free helpline.

Huntingford, chair of Renfrewshire’s Adult Protection Committee, said: “We’ve heard of cases where elderly relatives believe they’re going into a care home for respite then their homes are sold out from under them.

“In the last two years, local authorities across Scotland have taken out 42 court orders banning relatives and carers going near their victims, often elderly parents or grandparents.

“In one family, elderly parents were living in filthy conditions, starving and afraid, cared for by their son and daughter who both had drink and drug problems.

“Victims don’t want to tell on their own family members.”

The elder abuse free confidential hotline number is 0300 777 6520.