A PERSISTENT shoplifter described as a “significant nuisance” to stores in Alexandria has been spared a prison sentence – after he admitted stealing a hand-held terminal worth £2,000 from a shopworker.

Peter Haggerty, of Wilson Street, was ordered to carry out unpaid community work as a punishment after he admitted his part in a series of incidents at shops in Bank Street and Mitchell Way.

The 39-year-old appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing on March 17, having previously admitted three charges of theft by shoplifting and one of threatening or abusive behaviour.

Haggerty’s offending began at the Aldi supermarket in Bank Street on March 27 last year, when he became aggressive after being approached by a member of staff who was suspicious about his behaviour.

The court heard Haggerty had told two staff members to “f*** off” after he was asked to go to the shop manager’s office, and that once in the office he had threatened to hit one of the workers in the jaw.

Later in the year, on September 30, Haggerty stole a quantity of meat worth £24.34 from Farmfoods in Mitchell Way. He was seen by a staff member, but had made off by the time the shop manager was alerted.

On October 17, he stole a quantity of meat worth £18.84 from the same shop – and then, two days later, he stole a staff member’s hand-held terminal worth around £2,000 at the nearby Savers store.

On the latter incident, the prosecuting fiscal depute said: “A witness working in the shop was stacking and pricing stock and had a hand-held terminal with her.

“She placed this on a lower shelf and then became aware of the accused. She then noticed he had picked up the terminal and left.

“The accused was stopped as he left the shop, and the item was within a bag he had with him.

Kenny McGowan, defending, told the court: “At the time of these offences he was in quite straitened financial circumstances due to difficulties with his benefits. He had also reached a particular low with his mental health, exacerbated by his drinking and, to some extent, his drug misuse.

“He has reached the point where he is of significant nuisance value to a number of local stores.

“However, he has sought some support in respect of his addiction difficulties, and tells me he has an interest in entering residential rehab."

Haggerty will be supervised by social workers for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.