A SELKIRK woman who embezzled £16,000 from her mother-in-law has been ordered to carry out 160 hours unpaid work as an alternative to custody.

Thirty six year old Kirsten Scott, formerly known as Darling, was also told to pay £8,000 in compensation over the next 18 months to the 78-year-old woman.

Selkirk Sheriff Court was told she embezzled the sum of £15,999 while acting under a welfare and financial Power of Attorney granted to herself and her then husband on behalf of her mother-in-law who was then suffering from dementia.

She pleaded guilty to the offence which happened at her home in Leslie Place, between April and July last year.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser explained she had become Power of Attorney with her now estranged husband in January 2018 as her mother-in-law was suffering from Alzheimers.

She was concerned about her bank balance and she checked her account and found money had been transferred into Scott's account.

Scott's lawyer Andrew Houston explained his client gave a full disclosure to the police about the situation and explained the money had been used to pay off some debt and buy household appliances.

He added: "There is no evidence of extravagant spending."

Mr Houston said Scott had to resign from her job catering at a local school but had found alternative employment.

He explained she would be able to repay £5,000 in compensation immediately.

Sheriff Peter Paterson said it was an extremely serious matter which could have resulted in a custodial sentence.

He imposed an 18-months Community Pay Back Order with supervision and to carry out 160 hours unpaid work.

The sheriff also told her to pay £8,000 in compensation within 18 months.

Scott is a former RAF chef and was the Selkirk Ex-Soldiers Association Standard Bearer at the town's 2016 Common Riding - only the second woman to ever cast a flag at the historic annual festival.