A JOHNSTONE man has been jailed for going on a shoplifting spree after changes to the benefits system left him too poor to eat.

Kenneth Bright, of High Street, raided stores in the Piazza shopping centre, in Paisley, last month, so he could sell his loot to buy food.

The details emerged when 32-year-old Bright appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court to be sentenced over the thefts.

Procurator fiscal depute Pamela Flynn told the court that, on Friday, January 4, Bright raided a Boots store and then proceeded to assault a member of staff.

He then targeted both Semichem and Superdrug on Tuesday, January 29, while he was banned from entering the mall. He managed to get away with some cosmetics on each occasion.

Bright was also appearing in the dock in connection with an aftershave and cosmetics raid on the Semichem store in William Street, Johnstone, that he carried out in October last year.

Defence solicitor Terry Gallanagh told Sheriff Colin Pettigrew that some of the offences were committed to fund a drug habit but added that benefit problems also had a part to play in his client’s offending.

Mr Gallanagh explained: “His benefits have not been put in place. He has applied for Universal Credit. He has no income, no means of sustaining himself, and he reverted to type and got cosmetics to sell to buy food. He wanted to make that clear.”

However, Sheriff Pettigrew told Bright a prison sentence was inevitable.

He caged him for eight months for the January 29 raids and six months for the incident that took place on January 4.