AN AYR support worker who paid out thousands of pounds to gambling companies from a service user's bank account has been struck off.

Lorna Allardyce was removed from the register following an investigation by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

The watchdog said Allardyce's behaviour had caused the vulnerable service user “emotional and financial harm”.

An SSSC panel heard of numerous instances where Allardyce paid money from gambling websites into the service user’s account – and several more when she paid out money from the same account to a range of online gambling companies.

The panel's report said she had shown “an intentional and prolonged pattern of behaviour”.

Allardyce used the service user’s bank account to deposit payments of £7,600 from three gambling websites - £7,100 from Rainbow Riches, £100 from Paddy Power, and £400 from Tombola – over five months from October 2020 to March 2021.

Around the same time Allardyce, who was working as a housing support officer for Ayr-based Ardgowan Properties Ltd at the time, used the service user’s bank card to make payments of more than £4,700 to six different gambling sites.

She used the card to pay out £2,342 to Rainbow Riches, £1,200 to Paddy Power, £120 to Stars, £200 to, £780 to Tombola, and £60 to Ladbrokes.

In addition, between August 2020 and March 2021, Allardyce went with the same service user to make cash withdrawals of around £250 from the service user’s account – for Allardyce’s own personal use.

 The panel concluded that Allardyce’s fitness to practise had been impaired by her "dishonesty" and "abuse of trust".

The panel's report states: "Workers are expected to act with honesty and integrity in carrying out their duties, and not abuse the trust placed in them by service users and the wider public.

"Through your actions, you have breached that trust placed in you, and acted in such a way that has caused emotional and financial harm to a vulnerable person.

"The behaviour in this case is serious.

“You have demonstrated an intentional and prolonged pattern of behaviour falling far below the standards of conduct expected of you.

"You have used a vulnerable service user’s bank account, accessible to you only as a result of your position as a social services worker.

"Your behaviour is dishonest which is very difficult to remediate."

The panel concluded that although this was the first time concerns had been raised about Allardyce's conduct, removal from the register was the only suitable sanction.

The watchdog said she had shown "limited insight" since the incidents and that her behaviour was " extremely serious" and "sustained and deliberate".

The removal came into effect on March 14, when the SSSC decision was published.

Ardgowan Properties Ltd have been approached for comment.