A MOTHER who claimed to be raising money for a 13-year-old girl with leukaemia, was actually using it to fund her drug addiction.

Preston Crown Court heard Michelle Reid had visited houses between June 1 and October 26, 2017, in Pendle and asked for donations for the Morgan Hewitt, fundraising appeal who was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was seven.

Michael Maher, prosecuting, said Reid, knocked on the door of a house in Park Road, Barnoldswick, on June 1, last year, and said she was raising money for the Helpmorgan appeal. She was given £1 by the occupier.

The 45-year-old returned a few months later in October and asked for money again.

But she couldn't remember Morgan Hewitt’s surname when questioned by the male occupant, who then refused to give her any cash.

Mr Maher said: "She exploited people’s kindness in order to satisfy her addiction to class A drugs. She had no official documentation, no identification and no collection box."

The man’s neighbour also gave Reid £1 but had doubts about her, the court heard.

The occupant of the first house followed Reid and filmed her on his phone about 20 minutes after they spoke. He then shared her photograph on the Barnoldswick Talk Facebook page in an attempt to identify her.

Mr Maher said that during police interview Reid admitted she had an issue with drugs but denied asking for donations.

Mr Maher said: “She said ‘I’m not a horrible person, I’m not going to steal from someone with cancer and not give the money to them’.”

Jack Troup, defending, said his client had been a drug addict for 15 years but had managed to get herself clean.

Following the offence Raid's former partner has stopped contacting her daughter and Mr Troup said his client is concerned about the impact that will have.

He said: “She feels like her daughter would consider herself abandoned. She wants to retain a relationship with her daughter. This is fuelling her abstinence for drugs.”

Reid, of Dickson Street, Colne, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud on the day she was due to stand trial.

She was given a 12 month community order, a 12-week curfew and told to complete 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Recorder Alexandra Simmonds said: “They only gave you money because they thought it was going to a good cause.

“While this was not sophisticated fraud, it was mean on your part.”