A DRUG addict with an “appalling” record who broke into a children’s nursery in Cardross to fund his habit and pay money lenders has been jailed for two years.

A court was told Stuart McCrae, who had a criminal record stretching back “decades”, took nothing in the raid this summer.

McCrae, 55, appeared from custody on indictment at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Tuesday, when he admitted breaking into Nursery Rhymes, in Reay Avenue, on July 4 with intent to steal.

Fiscal depute Claire Nicholl told the court it happened after the owner of the nursery locked the portable cabin office at 8.50pm.

Some time later a witness in a nearby home heard a loud smash and looked out a window to see a man climb into a window of the cabin before calling police, who arrived within minutes.

Ms Nicholl said: “They saw the accused and he told them he was looking for somewhere to stay.”

McCrae was arrested and taken to Clydebank police station.

The court was told how the owner returned to the nursery to find damage had been done in the break in while files, along with drawers, were also lying open.

Sheriff William Gallacher asked if the break in had any impact on the operation of the nursery, but was told that nothing had been taken.

McCrae’s defence solicitor told the court how his client had a drug problem which started when he was prescribed Tramadol while in prison for a previous offence.

The drug was then no longer prescribed to him causing “extreme” withdrawal symptoms, leading him to street Valium, and then to heroin.

His solicitor added: “He had extreme withdrawal symptoms so he started to take heroin and that cemented his downfall.“It [the offence] was to fund his drug problem and to pay money lenders. There’s an underlying drug problem and it’s only very recently that he has come to terms with it. He’s willing to admit that he’s got an extreme addiction. He understands a prison sentence is inevitable.”

The court was told how McCrae also had a portion of a previous jail sentence still left unexpired.

Sheriff Gallacher told him: “You have an appalling record and you have been doing this for decades.

“I cannot mark this by way of anything other than a severe penalty.”

McCrae was sentenced to two years in prison.