A gambling addict who stole more than £6,000 from her elderly mum’s Post Office account in order to feed her vice, has escaped a jail sentence for now – to look after her grandchildren.
Lynne Cree, 50, from Dundee, was told by a sheriff that she could be spared prison after Cree’s solicitor Alison Short told him she was a carer for her working daughter’s children.
Sheriff John Rafferty deferred sentence on Cree for four months for her to be of good behaviour and to explore the possibility of a community disposal as an alternative to custody along with the possibility of a restriction of liberty order.
The heartless thief left the distraught pensioner, who was 82 at the time, with just £80 in her account after using her card to pocket thousands of pounds.
Cree took the card after being given the PIN by her mother to cover the Christmas period.
Sentence was deferred on Cree earlier this year after she pleaded guilty by letter at Dundee Sheriff Court to stealing the money between December 31 2017 and January 23 2018.
It was revealed that Cree moved in with her mother for a short period after the breakdown of a relationship, although her mother was said to have been distrustful of her daughter due to her gambling addiction.
On Christmas Eve, 2017, the woman and Cree attended at the Post Office within Pricekracker, The Hawthorns, where Cree was asked to withdraw £600 to cover Christmas expenses and to buy gifts for her grandchildren.
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At the time, she had more than £5,300 in her account. The card was not immediately returned and it was only on January 28 that the pensioner began looking for the card.
On January 30, she collected a new card from the same Post Office but was unable to withdraw £300 to cover her bills. The woman became “extremely upset” after realising there was only £80 in her account and contacted the police.
Officers attended on February 5 and found her to be highly distressed. The woman said she hadn’t seen Cree for several days and did not know where she was.
An investigation revealed Cree had made multiple withdrawals of £100 at a time. Cree later attended at police headquarters on West Bell Street where she revealed to officers that she had taken the money to feed her gambling addiction, believing she could win back the money.
Cree, of The Larches, pleaded guilty to stealing the Post Office bank account from an address on Roseburn Gardens and using it to withdraw £6,075.
In a written explanation to the court, Cree said: “I have now made up with all my family and I managed to stop gambling.”
Sheriff Rafferty deferred sentence until January 5 for reports to be prepared and for Cree to be of good behaviour.