A SERIAL thief has been warned by a sheriff that he can either sort his life out or go to prison.

Craig Lindsay appeared at Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday, April 4, after failing to comply with a Community Payback Order (CPO).

He had previously been put on three concurrent CPOs by sheriff David Mackie for shoplifting offences.

In August and September last year, he stole from shops in Alloa and Stirling on nine different occasions.

The items taken included a jacket from Superdry, coffee from Tesco, razor blades from Savers and air fresheners from Poundstretchers.

On Thursday, his solicitor Alistair Ross explained that a number of disruptive factors in Lindsay's life had led to the breaches.

Referring to reports prepared for the court, he said: "His position is he notified the author of the report on one occasion that his family member is ill, and that has distracted him from engaging – but that is not an excuse.

"He does have mental health issues which he was receiving medication for.

"His position was the medication was making him worse, and he thought changing medication would help, but it has not solved the difficulties.

"The final explanation is that he has had difficulties in relation to his tenancy, as he was under the threat of eviction."

In mitigation, he described his client as a man who "understands he has let himself down", and added: "He will try to reflect that if your lordship allows him that opportunity."

He also pointed out that Lindsay had not been involved in any further offending, but sheriff Simon Collins interjected: "That seems to be the only bright spot."

The sheriff then told Lindsay how fortunate he had been to avoid prison in the first place, stating: "You pled guilty to nine counts of shoplifting.

"If I was sentencing you to custody on these matters you are looking at 18 months in prison – and that is being generous.

"As an alternative you were put on a CPO.

"I appreciate there's other problems in your life, but it is a question of priorities: Do you want to spend 18 months in prison? Or do you want to sort this out?"

Lindsay replied: "I do."

The 40-year-old, of Izatt Terrace in Clackmannan, was then given one final opportunity to complete his CPOs.

Acknowledging the response, Sheriff Collins then warned Lindsay of the consequences he would face if he failed to comply with his orders any further.

He said: "If you come to court with another breach report then you will be going to prison.

"It is in your hands: It's shoplifting and it's drugs, or you are going to sort yourself out."