A drug addict took an elderly neighbour suffering from Alzheimer’s by taxi to a bank and tried to rob her of £5000.
Lee Fawcett took advantage of the woman’s confused state of mind and claimed she was his aunt.
He told bank staff his “aunt” wanted to withdraw £5000 to buy furniture for his flat.
However, the cruel scam failed and Fawcett (38) of High Street, Burntisland, was jailed at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.
He admitted that on February 2, he arranged a taxi to take him and the woman to a bank, accompanied her into the bank, requested that she make a withdrawal from her account, asked staff to provide the money and attempted to steal £5000.
Depute fiscal Sarah Lumsden told the court: “The complainer is 74 and in 2015 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her memory has deteriorated significantly.
“As such she is a vulnerable member of society, so much so that her son and his wife have placed a GPS tracking device in her handbag.
“The accused is not known to the woman’s son or his wife and it is believed he met the complainer in the street when he was begging there.”
At 3.20pm a taxi driver received a hire to take Fawcett and the woman from Burntisland to Kirkcaldy.
He referred to the victim as his “aunt” to the driver and she said, “I’m only here for the ride”.
The woman’s son received a text message from the GPS tracker indicating his mother had left the Burntisland area.
The taxi driver later said he had some concerns for the woman and heard her say her memory was not good.
He dropped them off in Kirkcaldy and they went into the RBS branch in Rosslyn Street.
A staff member was concerned because of the woman’s appearance. Her hair was unkempt and she was wearing wellington boots.
Fawcett then asked the victim to withdraw £5000 from her account and said it was to buy furniture for his flat.
He showed her where her bank card was in her bag and told her the PIN number. The staff member serving them noticed that Fawcett appeared “agitated” while the woman looked “confused”.
The concerned bank worker told Fawcett he would have to leave her to speak to the woman alone as he seemed to leaning over her.
“She had the card placed in the machine but could not remember the number. He began to shout it over to her and the whole bank was able to hear this,” said the depute.
A warning on the bank worker’s computer gave information that the woman was under a power of attorney.
The manager was informed and the woman was asked if she knew Fawcett. She said she did not know him.
Fawcett complained that the woman was being kept against her will and said to bank workers, “You think I’m trying to steal her money. I’ve been off the drugs for three weeks now.”
Relatives were informed and the police were called.
Defence solicitor Martin McGuire said his client lived close to the woman. “They exchanged pleasantries and had cups of tea together.”
He said Fawcett was a long-term heroin addict having started taking it when he was 17 and had rent arrears.
Sheriff Craig McSherry jailed Fawcett for 22 months.