Yet despite his appalling breach of trust, a judge has given Aaron Horton with an 18-month community order – as long as he attends a "thinking skills" course.
Trusting grandmother Maureen Bunce left her thieving grandson, 26, to look after her cat when she went on holiday, even though he had stolen from her before.
Aaron Horton stole 11 cheques from his grandmother
And when she returned from holiday, there were letters from her bank - NatWest - saying her account was now in the red.
Dianne Chan, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court how Horton, of St Luke's Walk, Hawkinge, stole 11 cheques from January to June.
"You must be ashamed of yourself because of the loss of trust by your grandmother..." - Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl
"Mrs Bunce went on holiday and usually asked her neighbours to feed her cat," she said. "But if they were not available she would ask her grandson to do it.
"When she returned and found the bank letters saying she couldn't write any more cheques because she was overdrawn, she realised that the writing on the cheques was that of her grandson."
The prosecutor said Horton was interviewed twice by police before they unravelled the full extent of his thieving and fraud.
She said: "Horton told officers that he had drugs debts He eventually texted his grandmother apologising and saying that he would pay her back by the end of the month. He hasn't, in fact, done so. She felt very upset."
The court heard the bank had since reimbursed Mrs Bunce and Horton was ordered to pay £4,829 compensation within a year.
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
In 2006, Horton was convicted of a deception charge involving his grandmother when he received another community order.
Natasha Spreadborough, defending, told the court: "His parents have cut him off as a result of his offending, but he has always had a willingness to pay the money back."
Horton admitted theft and fraud and Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl told him: "You must be ashamed of yourself because of the loss of trust by your grandmother."