TWO men who broke into Dumbarton Academy during a crime spree stretching across two towns caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

James Arthurs, 23, and Andrew Pyke, 22, broke into the Crosslet Road school on Saturday, May 27 ransacking filing cabinets and a safe.

The cost of the damage was estimated at £3,000.

The pair had earlier broken into Helensburgh’s Hermitage Academy where they stole cash and trashed a kitchen area.

During the Helensburgh raid they set off intruder alerts more than 40 times before fleeing and boarding a train to Dumbarton.

However, police later spotted the duo and matched them to the descriptions of the two thieves spotted on CCTV at both schools, as well as at Dumbarton East railway station.

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week, fiscal depute David McDonald said both ran from officers but were later caught and taken to Dumbarton Police Station – where they were interviewed but gave no comment.

The court heard Pyke is currently serving a sentence of 27 weeks imposed at Glasgow Sheriff Court on June 23.

The pair, both prisoners of Low Moss, pleaded guilty to two offences on Tuesday, August 14. but were back in the dock on Wednesday, August 30 for sentencing.

Pyke defence solicitor told the court: “His record is less extensive but his position is no less precarious...all I can ask you to do is to limit the sentence as far as you can.”

Sheriff William Gallacher previously branded the acts as “pretty disgraceful crimes” and “of wilful callousness”.

He added: “I have a duty to protect the community and give schools the support they deserve.

“The message must be sent out loud and clear and lengthy custodial sentences must be imposed to mark these offences.”

In sentencing, the sheriff said: “It doesn’t resonate that the serious harm to the public has been so great.

“[You] came in to this area and allowed yourself to invade not one but two secondary schools with the impact that would have had on everybody.

“You caused significant harm.”

Pyke was sentenced to a total of 18 months behind bars to run consecutively with his current 27 week sentence.

Arthurs, who was sentenced the following day due to pending clarification of a query by the Crown to the Scottish Prison Service, was jailed for 14 months, reduced from two years.