A BOXING Day thief has avoided being sent to jail following a Yule-time break-in.

Gary White, 46, was spotted under the influence by a resident of Cardross Road, Dumbarton, who had gone for a walk with his daughter on December 26 last year.

After noticing White, the man phoned his wife and told her to lock the door and not answer it, Dumbarton Sheriff Court was told last week.

White, of Kyle Terrace, Dumbarton, rang her doorbell three times, but the woman retreated to her bedroom.

Believing he had left, she went to the kitchen window, but was stunned to see White in the garden shed “rummaging around”.

She immediately phoned her husband and then the police. The woman saw White leaving with her husband’s tool bag and officers traced him a short time later, recovering the full contents of the bag, which were worth around £170.

Defence solicitor Judith Reid said her client had no recollection of his crime, adding that he had been sober for about seven years but then suffered a “significant relapse”.

She said: “He has done his best to deal with the relapse.”

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry noted White had moved from alcohol to Valium, and that the crime appeared to be a “stand-alone offence”.

He told White: “You have an atrocious record starting in 1998, but you had a substantial gap in offending after 2013.”

White was put under the supervision of social workers for 12 months, which may include drug or alcohol counselling. He must also do 90 hours of unpaid work within four months.