Family friend stole cash from couple

News from the courts. ANL-161028-174709001

News from the courts. ANL-161028-174709001

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A couple who noticed money going missing from their home set up a CCTV snare and were shocked to find their friend of over ten years was the culprit.

Tracey Christmas, 52, of Biggleswade, was spotted in the act after the family grew suspicious of money going missing - even confronting their own young son for answers.

The married couple say they have been left with trust issues since the ordeal as they considered Christmas a part of the family.

Christmas was sentenced to a 20 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to two counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft.

The shocking footage shows horse riding instructor Christmas hunting for a hidden key from a bureau before finding it and stealing £30 in cash.

The CCTV later caught Christmas attempting to steal two other times, before she was seen again quickly going through the woman’s hand bag and taking £50.

The female victim, 50, said she felt sick watching the footage and claims she had even discussed money going missing with Christmas.

The woman, who lives in Guilden Morden, with her 56-year-old husband, said: “In retrospect we feel stupid that we have not realised what was going on at the time but we had no reason to suspect her.

“It’s the disappointment that someone has cultivated a friendship simply for their own monetary gain.

“I was really angry. I felt really physically sick watching somebody I knew going through my personal possessions.”

The couple claim the CCTV had been up for less than a week and caught Christmas on four different occasions stealing or attempting to steal.

Cambridge Crown Court heard on August 30 how Christmas grew close to the family after being employed to look after their horses and do odd chores around the house.

Paul Brown, prosecuting, said: “The defendant also babysat for the couple’s son, and looked after their house when they were away.

“However, she did not have free rein of the house and there were areas she was not allowed into.”

Christmas denied the offences when confronted but eventually admitted them once the family told her she had been caught on CCTV.

She said she would pay the family back by direct debit and they “wouldn’t need to involve the police”, but the family thought it was too late for that.

She was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and pay £80 compensation, £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.