Couple charged in connection with theft of more than £60,000

Teesside Crown Court

Teesside Crown Court

A couple have appeared in court in connection with the alleged theft of more than £60,000 from a vulnerable adult.

The money is said to have been stolen from the alleged victim over a near two-year period.

It is claimed he was persuaded to transfer the sum after he was befriended by the defendants.

The Mail has decided not to name the complainant - described in court as having a “very low IQ” – although the alleged offences are said to have taken place in Hartlepool.

Victoria Woolston, 23, is charged with six counts of stealing a total of £60,508 between February 25, 2014, and January 29, 2016.

The individual sums involved in each count range from £256 on June 26, 2014, to £25,047 between February 25, 2014, and December 31, 2014.

Paul Francis Woolston, 42, of Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, faces three counts of acquiring, using or possessing a total of £14,450 in criminal property between March 24, 2014, and January 29, 2016.

The defendants, who are married, appeared before court for the first time yesterday when they faced Teesside magistrates.

District judge Martin Walker said the case was so serious that it needed to be transferred to Teesside Crown Court and told them: “These matters are not suitable for summary trial.”

The Woolstons were granted unconditional bail to return to court on Thursday, May 25. Victoria Woolston’s current address cannot be disclosed at this stage for legal reasons.