A "despicable" nurse in an elderly care home spent £10,000 of residents' money after stealing their credit cards.

Katiso Elliot Tlhabanelo, of Brighton Road, South Croydon, racked up huge bills on cards owned by two victims, including a 98-year-old woman, at Sunrise Senior Living in Purley.

Police said the victims had been "ruthlessly targeted" for their vulnerability.

The 49-year-old nurse carried out several transactions, including purchases from sports shops and cash machine withdrawls, with the stolen cards.

Tlhabanelo was caught after the 98-year-old and her daughter noticed payments worth nearly £2,000 on a statement for a card she rarely used.

Police officers from the Purley Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) obtained CCTV of the card being used at banks and shops, enabling mangers at the Russell Hill Road care home to identify Tlhabanelo in the footage.

He was arrested as he arrived to began his shift on February 26. Officers who searched him found a credit card belonging to the second victim in his wallet.

During police interview, Tlhabanelo admitted stealing the credit cards and defrauding residents out of the money.

He was charged with two counts of fraud and two counts of theft on pleaded guilty to both offences at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court the next day.

A date for his sentencing, at Croydon Crown Court, has not yet been set.

Sergeant Nick Tooher, from the Purley SNT said: "Tlhabanelo used his position as a nurse in a care home for the elderly to take advantage of the very people he was supposed to be caring for.

"I’ve little doubt that had he not been caught, he would have gone on to steal from other residents."

Detective Constable Scott Barefoot, from Croydon police, who investigated the case, said: "This is a despicable crime whereby the most vulnerable people in our society have been ruthlessly targeted."

The Nursing and Midwifery Council have been informed of Tlhabanelo's conviction and is likely to bar him from working with the elderly or vulnerable.

A spokeswoman for the care home said: "The health and wellbeing of residents is always our number one priority. We were appalled by this behaviour, which is out of step with everything we stand for.

"As soon as this incident was reported, we took the appropriate action and informed the relevant authorities.

"We have been working closely with the police and co-operated fully with their investigation.

"We hope the appropriate justice is done when the sentencing takes place and we will do everything in our power to ensure nothing like this happens again."