TWO men who found a bank card lying on a Dumbarton street and used it to buy a games console from a supermarket in the town have been spared jail.

John Nicholson and William Croll found the card in the town’s High Street in July 2017 – and used it to buy the console and two bottles of soft drink, as well as obtaining £50 cashback, from the Asda store at the St James Retail Park.

In addition to obtaining goods and cash to the value of £311 from the supermarket, the pair also used the card to steal around £350 in cash by using the card at the same store.

On the same day, they tried to buy goods worth £315 from the retail park’s Argos store– and attempted to steal a further £500 by using the card at an ATM next to Asda.

Nicholson, 29, and 34-year-old Croll appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to five charges of theft, obtaining goods by fraud, attempted theft and attempted fraud.

Background reports from social workers were provided prior to sentencing being passed on both men.

The duo were listed in court papers as being residents of Nobleston in Bonhill, though defence lawyer Jonathan Paul said they had since moved to a village in Aberdeenshire to look after Croll’s sick father.

Mr Paul called the theft of the card an “opportunistic” one on the part of Nicholson, but Sheriff Maxwell Hendry replied: “I have difficulty with the word ‘opportunistic’ - he had an opportunity to do the right thing or the wrong thing, and having chosen to do the wrong thing he then chose to do it again, and again, and again.”

The sheriff also pointed to a suggestion in the report on Croll that “he thinks he did absolutely nothing wrong”, but Mr Paul said Croll acknowledged his guilt in the matter.

Mr Paul also said that there was a long gap in Nicholson’s criminal record, and that Croll was a first offender, and suggested that the court consider an alternative to a prison sentence.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “Mr Croll, you have not previously offended; Mr Nicholson, it’s a long time since you did anything wrong.

“That goes towards keeping you both out of prison. But prison is an option for this type of offending.

“You may find somebody’s card lying in the street; that does not permit you to do what you did, and did repeatedly.”

Nicholson was told to do 100 hours of unpaid community work, and Croll 80. They will also be supervised for a year.