A VULNERABLE woman is facing eviction from her home after her trusted friend took thousands of pounds from her - spending it on holidays.

Leanne Noddings, 32, was given a suspended jail sentence for stealing more than £6,000 after she was asked to look after the financial affairs of her friend of more than 20 years.

Her victim – who suffers from anxiety and nervousness – was struggling to cope with her finances and asked Noddings to help, a court heard.

Noddings went on to plunder £5,465.83 from the woman’s bank account and a further £1,197.82 from her Post Office account between January 2012 and August 2013.

Her victim only became suspicious when Noddings, of Pateley Moor Crescent, Darlington, told her that her benefits had been stopped.

She obtained Post Office statements which revealed her benefits were paid in and withdrawn on the same day, while bank statements showed numerous unaccounted for transactions - including payments to holiday companies Jet2 and Travel Republic.

Tahira Bourchier, prosecuting, said: “Police found the defendant had booked a holiday to Majorca and had gone on another to a holiday park.

“All holidays were paid for using that money and the defendant eventually admitted making the vast majority of withdrawals.”

A statement from the victim said the incident had left her "heartbroken and depressed".

It said: “She was my best friend, I trusted her with everything.

“ I now have to lend money from friends, I’ve run up debts and been served with an eviction notice.

“I couldn’t buy my children birthday presents and can barely feed or clothe myself.”

Carl Swift, mitigating, said: “This was an unpleasant incident, involving defrauding a close personal friend.

“She told the police she knew she would not get away with it and said for the last few years she had accumulated large amounts of debt.

“She had been living hand to mouth on benefits to keep up with that debt and when the opportunity presented itself, she seized it and stole from her friend."

Nodding admitted two charges of fraud by false representation and was given a 32-week suspended sentence with a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £2,200 compensation.