05/02/2013 14:31 GMT | Updated 05/02/2013 14:38 GMT

Elderly Widow Left Without Care After Raid On Company, Carefirst24, Dies

An elderly woman has died after being left without care following a raid on the company that had been looking after her.

Widow Gloria Foster, who was in her early 80s, was taken to Epsom Hospital in Surrey after being found suffering from dehydration and starvation after going nine days without the four daily visits she was supposed to have, according to local newspaper reports.

She had been receiving help in her own home in Banstead from Carefirst24, but Surrey County Council became responsible for her replacement care after a number of its workers were arrested last month.

A county council spokeswoman said: "We're very sad to hear about Mrs Foster's death, and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

"The safety of vulnerable adults is our top priority, which is why this tragic event is already being urgently looked at by the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board."

She said she was unable to comment on how long Mrs Foster had been left on her own or when she was admitted to hospital.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency (UKBA), which carried out the arrests last month, said it had met local authorities ahead of the raid to warn them of what they were going to do so they could arrange alternative care for the company's clients.

Its officers arrested six people, including a Mauritian man and a Filipino man and woman, on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to assist foreign nationals at Carefirst24's headquarters in Upper Mulgrave Road, Sutton, on 15 January and at a separate south London address the day before.

All those arrested were later bailed until various dates in April.

A Surrey Police spokeswoman said: "Surrey Police was made aware of concerns surrounding the care of an elderly lady from Banstead.

"The concerns were raised by hospital staff providing treatment to the woman in her 80s at the end of January.

"Officers from the Public Protection Investigation Unit at Surrey Police carried out inquiries and it was deemed that the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board would be the appropriate agency to investigate further."