A man who shoplifted over £400 worth of items has been warned by a sheriff that he could die if he does not change his ways.

Darren Robert Robertson was given a second chance by Sheriff Mhairi McTaggart while appearing from custody at Ayr Sheriff Court.

Robertson was returning to the court for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to three charges of theft by shoplifting at businesses in Ayr.

The 41-year-old from Ayr stole £221 worth of children’s clothing from Matalan on August 11 and £75.48 worth of hair products from Sally’s Salon on August 18.

He also took £110.90 worth of clothes from the town’s H&M on August 16, although the full amount was recovered in that instance. At the time of the offences, Robertson was on bail.

Robertson’s solicitor Mr Gallagher said that, since growing up in care, his client had spent much of his life in prison, but that he wanted to put the past behind him.

Mr Gallagher also said that allowing Robertson his liberty would enable him to get the support he needs to stop him reoffending.

The solicitor said: “Having represented him for many years, he is a man who, by his own admission, is institutionalised.

“The bulk of it [his record] is dishonesty offending, no doubt complicated by addictions to class A substances and alcohol.

“His health has deteriorated. His particular difficulty is alcohol. He has reflected on his life – does he want to live or does he want to die?

“He knows that if he is to be given an opportunity, he has to take it responsibly.”

Sheriff McTaggarttold Robertson: “There’s some stark concerns that need to be met there.

"You’re 41, if you don’t address the issues that have given rise to all the offending and all the issues you have, you’re not going to see 50, let’s be honest. I’m going to give you a lifeline.”

Robertson was placed on a Community Payback Order with 18 months supervision for one of the charges, with a review set for October 22.

For the other two charges, sentence was deferred until that date. He was bailed in the meantime.