A MAN with more than 10 housebreaking convictions has been jailed for almost four years after being caught raiding Helensburgh’s submarine museum.

Iain McTear smashed the front door of the Scottish Submarine Centre in West King Street in June with the entire incident captured on CCTV.

Cameras caught McTear sizing up the premises three days before the break-in, and he pleaded guilty to theft by housebreaking at a hearing earlier in October.

The 41-year-old admitted stealing a till drawer and its contents and forcing open a donation box and stealing the cash from inside.

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court on October 30, McTear was said to be a native of the Renton area, but had lived in Liverpool for a considerable time.

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Defence solicitor Brian McGuire said his client had only returned to the west of Scotland a few weeks before the incident when his father had taken unwell.

Mr McGuire said McTear had made an application for Universal Credit that was still being processed, while he had also had a community care grant application refused.

The court was told McTear had been going back and forth between a private let in Helensburgh and his parents’ home in Renton at the time of the incident.

Mr McGuire said: “He turned to drink and found himself in the situation where this offence was committed.

“He has no recollection of this offence.

“Having seen the CCTV, I was instructed to resolve this matter.”

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Mr McGuire also told the court that his client, who is currently taking the heroin substitute methadone, would welcome supervised release after a prison sentence to get “all the help he can get” to free him from addiction.

“His intention is to remain in this area,” Mr McGuire added. “He has a plan to move forward.”

But Sheriff William Gallacher said he could not make a supervised release order unless it was to protect the public from serious harm.

He said there were 10 or more convictions for housebreaking or burglary on McTear’s record, and 24 more for dishonesty.

The sheriff told McTear that had he broken into someone’s personal home and caused damage, he would have considered whether he needed to send him to the High Court for a stiffer sentence.

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He jailed McTear for 45 months, backdated to June 19 when he was first taken into custody.

The previous hearing heard that McTear was found in West Clyde Street in the early hours of June 18 carrying a bag containing a large item. He dropped the bag and made off. When they caught him, the stolen till was found in the bag.

Fiscal depute Kevin Doherty told the court: “CCTV footage clearly shows the accused throwing a slab through the glass pane of the front door; he is seen to enter the premises and to exit again five minutes later, carrying the black till.

“Enquiries revealed a perspex donation box had been broken into and the contents removed.

“The accused’s prints were found on the handle of the discarded bag.”

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