A DRUG user who stole and pawned an elderly relative's engagement ring has been sent to jail.

Charlene Valente stole the sentimental piece of jewellery while she was visiting her 81 year-old great aunt in Cardenden and later claimed she had tried it on and then forgotten to take it back off.

She appeared for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, on Wednesday, after earlier admitting the theft of the gold ring on September 23 from a house in Derran Drive.

Depute Fiscal, Dev Kapadia, said the aunt was a widower who had lived alone since the death of her husband some years ago.

On the morning of the theft, she had been doing housework and noticed her ring was in its usual place in her bedroom.

She was aware that her great niece, Valente, 40, of Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy, was a drug user and invited her in for a cup of tea when she came to the house in the afternoon.

Valente when upstairs to use the toilet and, a short time later, left. The auntie became suspicious of what she had been doing upstairs and when she went upstairs, she found her engagement ring was missing and contacted the police.

When questioned, Valente was that she had gone upstairs to go to the toilet and she had sat down at her great aunt's jewellery cabinet and was trying on her rings. She said she walked into the toilet and forgot she still had the ring on and admitted it was now in a shop in Kirkcaldy High Street.

Valente's defence solicitor, Martin Maguire, said the item, valued at £200, had been taken and subsequently taken to the pawn broker.

He said his client had had an "issue with drug dependency" for some time which had caused her difficulties.

Sheriff Charles Macnair said he didn't consider there was an appropriate alternative sentence to a custodial one.

He told Valente: "You were given hospitality by your great aunt and you abused that hospitality by stealing her engagement ring and you sold or pawned that ring and it has never been recovered.

"The value in monetary terms is not really the significance of such a crime. Rings of that sort will always have significant sentimental value to the owner. No doubt she has had that for a very long time and will no doubt have certain memories for her and you have ruined that for your own selfish needs."

He jailed her for six months backdated to October 16.