It would probably have been reasonable for Cliff Bradley to suspect that his cleaner was up to no good when she came to work in his wife’s make-up.
It would probably have been reasonable for Cliff Bradley to suspect that his cleaner was up to no good when she came to work in his wife’s make-up and false eyelashes.
But it was only when a picture appeared on the airline captain’s Facebook page showing Maxine Ferran in his wife’s gold earrings that he realised she was a thief.
Believing she was behind the disappearance of other items from his £2million home, he set a trap to catch her after she tried to sell a family heirloom to a jeweller.
Mr Bradley, 57, and his 42-year-old dentist wife, Paris, had been baffled when £800 Versace handbags, large amounts of cash, mobile phones, jewellery and even their eight-year-old son’s savings started disappearing.
They never suspected Ferran, 47, who they had paid £50 a week for two years to clean their four-bedroom property in Warwickshire.
Mr Bradley even mistakenly blamed his son Alex when a missing porcelain figurine was found in his toy box after Ferran was quizzed.
But when Mr Bradley saw the cleaner in Facebook’s ‘people you may know’ column, he was appalled to see she was wearing his wife’s gold earrings.
‘I clicked on her photo and nearly spat out my coffee,’ he said. ‘And it wasn’t just the £150 earrings I recognised. Her make-up was almost identical to my wife’s as well – the lipstick, the false eyelashes, even the slight red lowlights in her hair. I had noticed she was wearing similar make-up to Paris when she came to clean but I had assumed she was going on a date after work.’
Mr Bradley then toured local jewellers and pawn shops and discovered Ferran had been trying to sell two gold coins dating back to around 200BC that were worn on a chain by his great-grandfather as a good-luck charm during the First World War.
A jeweller, tipped off by Mr Bradley, asked Ferran to return on a later date while he investigated the value of the rare coins, which she brazenly admitted she had ‘found’ cleaning.
Ferran failed to show up after being alarmed by a police vehicle waiting outside the shop. Warwickshire Police later arrested her but she refused to admit her crimes. Instead, she phoned her daughter, an officer in the neighbouring West Midlands force, whose foul-mouthed rant about her mother’s arrest was recorded by the investigating officers.
Police then found an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of stolen goods at Ferran’s home, which she claimed were gifts from her generous employers.
She was convicted at Warwickshire magistrates court of stealing at least £10,000 worth of goods.
Mr Bradley said: ‘I didn’t know what was going on at first. We thought we had misplaced things – my wife has a large wardrobe.
‘When she discovered things were going missing, I never suspected Maxine – she seemed a lovely lady. I always made her a cup of tea and when she started coming to clean wearing false eyelashes I said how nice she looked – I didn’t realise it was my wife’s make-up.
‘At one stage she disappeared on holiday to America and my wife didn’t realise that $800 in the back of her passport had disappeared.’
He added: ‘When we discovered it was Maxine, my wife convinced me we had a duty to catch her to stop her doing it to others. It has affected us really badly.’
The Porsche-driving millionaire believes Ferran raided his son’s savings of £1,000 after Alex gave her £5 from his piggy bank to say thank you for not disturbing his Lego when she cleaned his room. ‘To steal a child’s life savings shows just how diabolical this person is,’ Mr Bradley said.
Ferran, from Birmingham, also took toys, video games and even Alex’s Disney luggage to carry jewellery, designer shoes and handbags stolen from the family.
A number of the stolen items have never been recovered, including the ancient coins, for which Mr Bradley is offering a reward.
Warwickshire Police complained about the behaviour of Ferran’s daughter to West Midlands Police, but she was later cleared of misconduct.
Ferran faces jail when she is sentenced at Leamington Spa Crown Court on August 18.
© Daily Mail