Anyone would be rightly sickened by the crimes of Michelle Cooper and Mark Boyd Smith, who callously bled dry the accounts of their vulnerable 81-year-old neighbour Jean Beaumont.

In a cold, calculated and wholly malicious manner, the pair pretended to befriend Mrs Beaumont just so they could plunder her savings.

Police rightly branded the defendants “despicable”, and today they are behind bars, where they belong.

But it does raise the question of how easily they were able to take over the running of their victim’s financial affairs.

Of course, many people for many reasons are authorised to act on family or friends’ behalf when it comes to dealing with money matters.

But surely alarm bells should have started ringing with the various banks and financial institutions with which Mrs Beaumont held money when her accounts began to dwindle so alarmingly.

Of course, the depths which human nature will plumb, as evidenced by the actions of Cooper and Boyd Smith, are difficult to legislate for and – thankfully – quite rare.

But banks should, surely, exercise more caution when handing over control of money, especially to neighbours rather than close family members.