‘Two beauties’ robbed sheltered accommodation in Jarrow – only to be confronted by residents

Gemma Campbell, 38, and Audra Ames, 51, were left at Porlock House in Jarrow, which is home to the elderly, by an occupant, but once inside they broke into a pensioner’s room died and took their curtains.

Newcastle Crown Court heard one of the women tell a guest they had bothered during the September 2020 raid: ‘I bet you’ve never had two beauties like us in the property’.

The court heard how the duo also tried the doorknobs of occupied apartments, at a time when visitors were banned from the complex, which has an intercom entry system, due to Covid restrictions.

They described themselves as “two beauties”.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Muir told the court the women entered common areas and stole pictures from the walls, cleaning supplies and a mirror.

A judge said they took ‘everything that wasn’t nailed down’.

Miss Muir said two male residents realized items were missing inside the building and cupboards in the communal cupboards had been ‘trashed’, then saw the thieves stacking items outside .

Miss Muir told the court locals confronted the woman and added: ‘The men said they weren’t going anywhere until the police arrived.’

Gemma Campbell.

The court heard another resident came downstairs during the confrontation and was ‘shaking in fear’.

One of the occupants said in a statement: “A lot has changed with covid but we all take care of each other.

“Testing your doorknob is annoying.

“They shouldn’t have been in the building. They shouldn’t have taken our stuff away.”

Audra Ames.

Another said: “There are elderly residents living here who are vulnerable.”

Another occupant added: “I am extremely annoyed that these women are in our safe house.

“I think someone let them think they were friends of his daughter or something. They clearly took advantage of her old age and vulnerability.”

Campbell, of Downham Court, South Shields, South Tyneside and Ames, of Stoddart Street, South Shields, both admitted the burglary and theft. The court heard that both women had troubled pasts and had criminal records.

Grant Hunter

David Callan, defender, said Campbell was “clean” after being detained and took advantage of opportunities to change.

Mr Callan said the raid was ‘not very professional’.

Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Ames’ son was killed and three people stood trial for his murder, but one was convicted of manslaughter.

Miss Coxon said: “It had a significant impact on her emotional well-being.”

The court heard Ames had a criminal record but had been issue-free for more than a decade before the raid.

Campbell had also admitted to stealing meat and handling stolen goods after she and Grant Hunter drove to Aldi in South Shields in a stolen vehicle.

Campbell was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, with drug rehabilitation requirements.

Hunter, 45, of Beach Road, South Shields, admitted to stealing meat, handling stolen goods and driving while disqualified.

The court heard the couple were spotted stealing meat from the store and police were alerted by staff.

Hunter, who took the opportunity to get help for his problems while on remand, was jailed for two years.

Ames was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation terms and 100 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Robert Adams said the women had each tried “different door handles” and, while in the common areas of the sheltered accommodation, they “effectively removed everything that was not nailed down”.

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