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By Staff Reporter

A ZIMBABWEAN woman forged UK immigration papers and got a job as a manager of a care home before stealing £2,243 from her vulnerable victims, the Reading Crown Court heard.

Felicity Chinembiri, 35, was jailed for 10 months last Friday after admitting five offences of theft and one of making a false document while managing Christchurch Gardens care home in Reading.

The care home has ordered a review of its employment procedures.

Nilam Salhn, prosecuting, told the court Chinembiri, 35, of Cedar Road, was already serving a nine month jail sentence for forging documents to get the job.

Chinembiri’s employment was terminated in June 2007 by Voyage South, the owners of the home formerly known as Millbury Care Services, after the Home Office notified them that she was an illegal worker using high quality forged identity documents, said Christine Bell, the company’s operations director.

She said: "We believe our recruitment procedures meet best practice, but we will be reviewing our processes and safeguards to ensure we continue to offer high quality carers.

"The health and well-being of our residents is, and will continue to be, our number one priority.

"If, as a result of this case, we can learn any lessons or take any action to reduce the possibility of a similar incident occurring in the future, we will."

Bell said Chinembiri had been put through rigorous checks including a formal interview, references, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) checks, and a 'fit person' report by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Prosecuting, Miss Salhn told the court: "She stole a total of £2,243 pounds from residents who were vulnerable and fragile, and created a document purporting to be from a shop."

Daniel Fugallo, defending, explained: "In September when she had started serving the sentence for deception, the police came to her in prison and she made full admissions.

"She said, when she thinks of what she did she is sickened by it."

The court heard she had already been given a written warning about the financial affairs at the care home where eight residents live, but between March and May this year, committed the six offences.

Recorder William Stevenson said although she had not stolen a huge amount of money, she had preyed on “vulnerable victims”.

He added: "It was not a sophisticated, premeditated type of theft, although you did try to cover it up by making a false receipt."

He added that she had not spent the money on “riotous living” but had used it to clear council tax debts.

Part from being jailed for 10 months, Chinembiri was ordered to pay £2,200 compensation.

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