A SERIAL shoplifter has been spared jail after a spate of offences in Ayr.

Paul Watson of Walker Avenue in Troon has repeatedly stole goods from shops on several occasions this year. And he was given his final chance when he appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court last Tuesday, December 18.

In June, the 42-year-old stole a quantity of fragrance items from an Asda store in Ayr. On the same day he stole perfume from Debenhams in Ayr Central Shopping Centre before nicking a hair removal light from Boots.

The next month, the thief this time with an accomplice, was caught shoplifting alcohol from Aldi on Main Street.

Having been granted bail for these offences on three separate occasions, Watson was back snatching goods this month when he stole another fragrance item on December 1, this time from TK Maxx on River Street.

Only days later, he struck again and targeted some festive goods when he lifted some gift sets from Boots.

Defence solicitor John Gallagher told the court that Watson was sorry for his behaviour. He said: "The first thing he asked me to do this morning was apologise on his behalf for his behaviour."

Sheriff Desmond Leslie referred to Watson's previous conduct in court and the possibility that he could face prison. He told Watson: "I think six years would be inappropriate if I consider that your attitude is appropriate.

"Your behaviour in court does influence how I deal with things.

"I will place you on an order. If you do reoffend you will go to jail."

Watson was given a Community Payback Order as an alternative to custody which will be under supervision for 12 months. He was also handed 100 hours of unpaid work which must be completed within three months