A THIEF who stole merchandise worth almost £5,000 from a Rangers FC store in Ayr has been released from custody.

Derek Samson broke into the store on High Street on November 23 last year.

The 36-year-old was sentenced at Ayr Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to breaking into the store and stealing clothing valued at £4,880.

Samson also admitted further charges of carrying a knife in a public place three days before the theft in MacNicol Gardens and MacNaughton Drive, Kilmarnock.

He also pleaded guilty to breaching a bail order at the time of the blade incident by being outside his bail address during the hours of a 7pm-7am curfew.

Samson originally admitted all three charges in March, when he was remanded in custody pending background reports.

When he was brought back to court for sentencing on Monday, April 17, Samson pledged to change his ways – and agreed to be put on a strict drug testing order.

Defence solicitor John Gallagher told the court the background reports sought in March were favourable, adding Samson was keen to undertake a drug treatment and testing order (DTTO) and was “committed to addressing long-standing addiction issues.”

Mr Gallagher said: "He appears genuine in his commitment. His mother is in court along with a friend.”

Mr Gallagher told the court his client would be presenting as homeless in the short term in order to secure accommodation in Ayr.

Samson told Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart he was prepared to be put on the DTTO after the judge told him it will be “the hardest thing you will ever do”.

Samson gave a thumbs-up to the public gallery and wished his mum a happy birthday as he left the dock after saying “thank you, thank you” to the sheriff.

He will return to court at a later date for a review of the order.