A mother and son face a possible jail term after they admitted posing as Christian worshippers to steal from pensioners celebrating Easter in churches.
Callous Karen Hindley, 53, son Benjamin Stacey, 35, and Daniel Robins, 41, distracted members of the congregation to grab handbags and purses.
Hindley held hands with women to wish them a Christian message of peace as her son and Robins snatched their valuables, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Chronic heroin user Hindley was due to face a trial but changed her pleas at the last minute to admit three counts of thefts on Easter Sunday.
She was bailed for a probation report to face sentence with Stacey and Robins, who had already admitted theft charges.
Her son has 105 offences on his record – around half of them for theft.
Prosecuting, Julia Cox said the court the unholy trinity stole purses and handbags from women aged between 68 and 82 as they were in church celebrating Easter Sunday.
She described how Hindley joined the congregation to hold hands and celebrate the resurrection of Christ, giving her accomplices the chance to grab their bags and purses.
The court heard that Hindley had a long-term heroin habit and was undergoing treatment for cancer.
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She is also a manic depressive and was supported in court by a health worker.
She was jailed for 10 months last year for stealing a purse from an elderly church volunteer while posing as worshippers in a Liskeard church.
She also went on to steal purses from two other elderly ladies with another accomplice.
Hindley, Stacey and Robins, all from Plymouth, Devon will be sentenced together on December 15.