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Cocaine-using gambling addict from Fife stole £7,000 from grandparents

Claire Lowe.

A woman stole more than £7,000 from her grandparents to help fund an online gambling addiction.

Cocaine user Claire Lowe took most of the money from a drawer and a locked safe deposit box over a period of two years.

The 36-year-old also used her grandmother Emily McKinney’s bank card to take just over £400.

Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard the money was found to be missing after her grandfather Alan McKinney had had a hospital stay.

£1,000 missing from drawer

Fiscal depute Mat Piskorz said: “Alan McKinney had a money box with £6,000 in cash in it, which had not been counted since 2018.

“It was kept locked, nobody knew about it or had permission to access it.

Claire Lowe stole from her grandparents.

“In July 2020 he was in hospital for a while.

“During this time the house was unoccupied for long periods of time.

“Emily McKinney had a drawer in which she stored her purse and an envelope containing £2,000.

“This drawer was also locked.”

He said in September last year, Emily McKinney had gone to get money from her purse and discovered almost £1,000 was missing from the drawer.

Mrs McKinney asked her granddaughter about the money.

Lowe initially denied any knowledge but later admitted “I’ve spent it”.

Money box also raided

Mr Piskorz said: “On October 22, 2020 Emily McKinney decided to check the cash in the money box and discovered that all the money was gone.”

He said that in February Mrs McKinney received a statement on her bank account which revealed payments to online gambling sites and to Sky.

Solicitor Jamie Moncrieff, defending Lowe, said she was sorry for the upset she had caused her grandparents.

He said: “She accepts these are quite upsetting offences and she’s remorseful.

“She had quite a troubled childhood and her grandparents looked after her in a parental-type relationship.”

He said Lowe also had had issues with cocaine use.

Lowe, of Main Street, Townhill, Dunfermline, admitted stealing £6,990 from another address in the town between January 2018 and October 22, last year.

She further admitted using her grandmother’s bank card to steal £406.67 by using it on various online casinos and to make two payments to Sky.

Sentence was deferred for reports.

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