A FAMILY have thanked the kind-hearted community who replaced cash stolen from a Largs pensioner's purse.

Nessie Muldoon, 87, had just lifted her pension when she dropped the item in Tesco's Aitken Street store.

Almost £200 was inside, and when she went back to the aisle to retrieve it after realising at the till it was gone, found the purse had been swiped by a cold-hearted thief.

Grand-daughter Keighley Ziolkowski today thanked the Largs community for rallying to help after a special door-to-door fundraiser replaced the cash.

Keighley, 34, said: "My gran would like to thank the community for its kindness and generosity.

"She had been left really upset by what happened and as a family we are all really chuffed to bits that her neighbours have done this kind thing to support her.

"My gran is very independent and turns 88 soon, but this knocked her for six.

"She came down to live in Largs around 13 years ago as she always wanted to be by the seaside.

"She only retired as a shopkeeper in her early 70s and she has made herself a well known member of the community since moving to the town."

Keighley explained how the family, who live in West Lothian, had taken great comfort from the fact Nessie is being well looked after.

She added: "My gran had only just taken her pension out so there was quite a bit of money inside the purse when it was stolen.

"It was such a heartless thing for anyone to do. To steal from an old person is the lowest of the low."

After news of her trauma reached her neighbours, people living near to Nessie decided to act.

Keighley added: "One elderly gentleman and his daughter went around the doors and almost everyone was keen to help. One of the shops in Largs heard about the fundraising effort and even gave my gran a new purse.

"It is so lovely that everyone looks out for my gran in Largs, it is a real comfort to us as we are quite far away. Even after the incident happened in the supermarket, people rushed to help."

Police have since cautioned a woman in connection with the theft - although the money was never found.

Keighley explained: "The matter was reported but my gran did not want to take it any further as it would have meant going to court and that would have been quite an ordeal for her.

"The fact that the thief was cautioned means at least she got some sort of comeuppance.

"To see the £170 that was lost replaced by the kindness of others restores your faith in humanity."

Nessie, who is a member of St Columba's Parish Church, said: "I would like to say a personal thank you to everyone who contributed or helped me on the day. I've been moved by the community's kindness."