A CHILDCARE worker accused of stealing money from two young children after she was hired to clean their home has been cleared.

Bella Dadswell, 30, of Upton Avenue, Southwick, was found not guilty of stealing £180 from money boxes used by the children, aged eight and ten, while she was cleaning their rooms after being hired by their mother.

She was also cleared of taking the wedding tiara of the homeowner and a pendant worth a total of around £180.

Ms Dadswell, who denied all the charges, was hired by Albright Cleaning Services, based in Brighton, in August last year.

She was contracted to clean the house in Hove once a week for four hours between October and December, sometimes being left alone inside the house.

John Hunter, defending at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, argued that there was no evidence presented by the prosecution that any tribunal under proper direction could find her guilty.

Mr Hunter said: “We have heard no evidence that any of those other individuals with access to the house had not taken these items.

“There were also other children who entered the house to come and play with the kids.”

PC Adam Paris, from the investigation unit at Crowhurst Road police station, Brighton, arrested Ms Dadswell in late January after her resignation as a cleaner.

Police searched her boyfriend’s home where she was staying, finding inside a black cash box with its lock broken.

Police later opened the seized box using a spare key supplied to them by the mother of the children who allegedly had their money taken, the court heard.

Mr Hunter added: “There is no evidence of Ms Dadswell’s involvement apart from the box found at the house she was staying at with her boyfriend.

“These are generic cash boxes and are sold in a number of outlets.

“There is also no evidence that the key used by the policeman to open the box they found was tested on other boxes to see if it also worked on them.

“Is it credible to suggest that someone is going to dispose of other evidence but keep the broken cash box for at least two months, just so that the police can find the evidence?”

Adam Burt, Ms Dadswell’s boyfriend of 13 years, told the court that the box seized by police was his own that he had bought years ago and that he had to break the lock after losing his key.

He said: “We both shared a room.

“I was not aware of any additional items of hers.

“I would have noticed if she brought the jewellery back home.

“She never brought home a cash box.

“When the police officer came I asked him why he was taking my money box.

“I had no idea why he was taking it.”

Lead magistrate Dr Ian Haffenden concluded that “although we think that the defendant may have taken the items, the prosecution has not proved it so”.

A court order was made by magistrates to protect the identity of the children who allegedly had the items taken from them and therefore their mother has also not been named.