A DUNFERMLINE heroin addict asked a 15-year-old girl to repeatedly take methadone and provide fake urine samples for her.

Lea-ann Ward hoped to con drug addiction services and social workers into thinking she had stopped taking heroin.

However, the schoolgirl became hooked on the heroin substitute and told a friend, which led to the police being alerted.

Ward, 28, of Golfdrum Street, was jailed for the callous scam when she appeared for sentencing at the town’s sheriff court.

She admitted that on various occasions between May 1 and August 31 last year, she culpably and recklessly provided a controlled drug, methadone, to a girl aged 15, with the intention that she would provide a urine sample and exposed her to the risk of harm from the drug.

Depute fiscal Sarah Lumsden previously told the court that Ward had been referred to addiction services in January 2017 and was placed on a methadone prescription.

To comply with the programme’s conditions, she had to provide urine samples to show she was not still taking heroin.

The depute said the young girl “felt sorry” for Ward and agreed to take part in the scam.

“The accused repeatedly asked her to do this and she did so,” she added.

In all, the girl provided seven samples. She was 15 at the time of the first one and then turned 16 as she continued to take the drug.

The depute went on: “This had an effect on her. She felt particularly tired and was becoming reliant on the methadone. After she consumed it, she would feel better.

“She wanted to stop taking it and told the accused.”

At the end of August last year, the girl told a friend what she had been doing and how she was feeling.

The friend informed the social work department who in turn contacted the police.

Defence solicitor Elaine Buist said the motivation for her client had been to obtain clean samples so that she could have access to her child.

She added: “From the report, it seems she hasn’t been able to take on board the potential harm to the complainer.

“It’s always been her position that she wasn’t giving her the entirety of the methadone prescription. She was giving her a small amount so that it would be there in the sample.

“She struggles with mental health problems and tends to focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. At that time, her focus was on maintaining contact with her son.

“However, as a result of this she had the methadone prescription removed and no longer has contact with her child.”

Sheriff Charles MacNair told Ward: “We were provided with methadone as an alternative to heroin and it was made clear to you that you had to provide clear samples or else you were at risk of losing your prescription and it would have an impact on contact with your son.

“Instead of stopping taking heroin, you decided that the way around this was to get (the girl) to take the methadone and provide samples.

“You did that on no less than seven occasions and she became somewhat reliant on methadone.

“This is truly appalling behaviour but even now you do not seem to recognise the enormity of what you have done. It must be made clear that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”

He jailed Ward for 22 months and two weeks.