ALAN Howarth watched in horror at the footage which showed 63-year-old Ivy Peachey taking cash from a box in his mum Elizabeth’s home and stuffing it into her pinny.
He had been driven to install the secret CCTV after noticing large amounts of his mum’s money was going missing.
Now a year later, the family told of their relief as the thief was finally brought to justice – even though an estimated further £30,000 of Elizabeth’s savings remain unaccounted for.
If Peachey did take any of that, investigators have so far been unable to prove it.
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no evidence that Peachey had any access to Elizabeth’s bank cards or pin numbers, the spry pensioner retaining control of her own financial affairs. And while the family is now considering a civil action, Alan, 68, said: “I’m just very happy that it has all come out and she has been found guilty.
“My mum was absolutely devastated when she found out the truth as she regarded Ivy as a close personal friend.
“She’s okay now but it has really taken its toll on her. At first she wouldn’t believe it was Ivy who was taking the money. It took a lot of convincing. Even I couldn’t believe it. My mum finds it hard to trust now and she will definitely not be employing anybody else to help with her cleaning. The family does it between us now.”
Alan planted £200 in the box at Elizabeth’s Tyldesley home as bait last year after his suspicions were aroused by the previous disappearance of money.
The cash stayed put for more than a week until Peachey arrived to clean the house which she did fortnightly in the nine years of employment there.
And after checking it immediately after her departure, Alan realised around £160 had been taken.
He contacted the police who suggested he conduct the same experiment and this time install a camera.
Alan said: “I first became suspicious when I realised my mum had been drawing out large numbers of money for a number of years which we couldn’t account for.
“At first I thought she must have stashed it somewhere at her home but I searched high and low throughout the house and I couldn’t find anything.
“This was when alarm bells started ringing. So I decided to plant some money in a little box and monitor it.
“So after going to the police I did the same thing again and placed a hidden camera there and saw Ivy take £140 from the box and put it in her pinny.
“I even took a note of the serial numbers on the cash and when the police searched her house they found the notes.”
Sentencing, District Judge Prowse said that throughout the year-long investigation, Peachey had shown no remorse.
He added that she had dragged a vulnerable, elderly lady through the courts and put her under an enormous amount of stress.
Alan added: “I’m just happy that she has been proven to be a thief and I hope that others who have been victim to her get some satisfaction.”
Peachey of Hertford Drive, Tyldesley, was sentenced to one month imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £800.
A CPS spokesman said: “There was no evidence to establish that Ivy Peachey ever had access to the victim’s bank account, therefore there was insufficient evidence to provide a realist prospect of conviction in relation to the allegation of theft of £30,000.”