A THIEF has been jailed after he admitted stealing toilet rolls from a politician.

Patrick McHardy swiped the items, as well as soap, hand gel and a diffuser bottle, from the constituency office of Renfrewshire North and West MSP Derek Mackay, who is also Scotland’s Finance Secretary.

The 26-year-old crook targeted the SNP man’s base in Hairst Street, Renfrew, last November 22.

The details emerged yesterday when McHardy appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court.

He admitted a charge of theft by stealing “a quantity of toiletries” from Mr Mackay, who previously served as Transport and Islands Minister and also Local Government and Planning Minister.

Procurator fiscal depute Pamela Flynn told the court: “This was at the constituency office of a local MSP. Mr McHardy attended there with another male and took various items, all of which were recovered.”

After staff at Mr Mackay’s office noticed the items were gone and contacted police, officers tracked down McHardy and found him still in possession of the goods.

Defence solicitor Rhona Lynch said McHardy, who was on a Community Payback Order (CPO) at the time of the incident, had endured a difficult upbringing and struggled with personal problems but had been trying to turn his life around.

Sheriff James Spy had imposed the CPO after McHardy was convicted of a drugs offence and a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour.

Yesterday, the sheriff opted to revoke the CPO and sentence McHardy to a total of 90 days behind bars for the offences.

McHardy, who is originally from Paisley but was most recently living in Paisley Road, Renfrew, is already serving a 12-month jail term imposed in February for stealing a delivery driver’s car and then leading police on a late-night chase while he was four times the drink-drive limit.