A MAN has been jailed for robbing a woman of her purse while she was in her car.

Alister Ross of Turnberry Road in Maidens loitered outside a newsagents with his hood up before he pounced on the victim who was lifting money from a cash machine.

The 37-year-old approached the car and asked for the time but quickly grabbed the woman’s handbag and got into a struggle with her before running off with her purse.

Depute Fiscal Mr Saud Hassan told the court: “The locus was a roadway outside RS McCall on Content Street in Ayr at 10.50am on May 31. The complainer got money from the cash machine of £70. She saw the accused with his back against the wall with his hood up. She got into her car and put the key in the ignition, and put her purse on the passenger side.”

Ross then crept up to the woman’s vehicle who quickly became scared. Mr Hassan added: “The accused asked for the time. The time was given, and he leaned to grab her bag. There was a struggle and the complainer began to scream.

“The accused paused for a few seconds during the struggle, the purse fell out of her bag and onto the passenger side of the car. The accused grabbed her purse and ran off.

“She went into RS McCall crying and a description of the accused was circulated.”

Police later traced the thief and found £60 of the stolen cash on him.

Ross’s solicitor Mr Colin Adam said he was in a desperate situation after police had only recently recovered money from him in a drugs raid.

Mr Adam told the court: “He’s 37 years of age, in receipt of benefits and pled guilty at the earliest opportunity. £200 was seized by police in a drug search made in his property. He was put into a perilous financial situation.

“He has had a fairly lengthy battle of drug addiction and had a relapse shortly before this incident. Parents would not assist him financially as they normally would do. He acted impulsively in taking this money.”

Sheriff Ross Macfarlane argued: “Was it impulsive? He entered the car after asking for the time, standing next to a cash machine wearing a hood. The victim screams and he doesn’t stop.”

Mr Adam admitted the seriousness of the crime, stressed there was no violence or threats made. He added: “Drugs are basically the route of this man’s problem and while on drugs he is a risk to the community.”

Sheriff Macfarlane sentenced Ross to five months, which was backdated to June 1.