A MAN who staged a break-in at a Galashiels chemist at the weekend has been jailed for eight months at Selkirk Sheriff Court.

David Cotton, 22, pleaded guilty to a theft by housebreaking at Lloyds the chemist in Channel Street during the early hours of Sunday morning.

After smashing a plate glass window to gain entry, he made off with a cash box containing £5 in coins and two cans of deodorant.

Police officers, who were called to the scene by an alarm company, followed a trail of coins in Douglas Bridge to retrieve the cash box.

Cotton also admitted attempting to break-in to Boots the chemist at Gala Water Retail Park during the early hours of Saturday, August 1 and smashing a late glass window.

Depute fiscal Fiona Hamilton said the incident at Lloyds happened at around 3.35am when the police were contacted by an alarm company after an internal alarm had been activated.

She said: "They saw that the doors of the pharmacy had been smashed. The bottom section of the door was fully missing.

"The pharmacy said they were not missing any medication but a cash box had been stolen which was recovered by following the trail of coins. There was £5 worth of change in the trail.

"CCTV showed someone trying to gain entry with a sandbag and then smashed the window with a stone.

"He then took the cash box from inside and two cans of deodorant.

"They were able to identify the male as the accused."

Turning to the attempted break-in at Boots a week earlier, Ms Hamilton said that at 3.47am, a worker at nearby Tesco saw a man running across the car park after hearing a smashing noise.

The accused was arrested and it was found the main entry door at Boots had been shattered but no entry gained.

Cotton, who gave an address in Jedburgh, was said by police officers to be in an intoxicated state.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said his client turned to alcohol when he could not get his medication on time and that he had been suffering from anxiety and depression.

He added Cotton had been struggling since his release from prison to have any structure in his life.

Sheriff Peter Paterson told Cotton that society had given him every opportunity to take advantage of a community disposal but he had failed to engage and a custodial sentence was inevitable.

He imposed jail sentences of four months for the attempted raid at Boots and eight months for the housebreaking at Lloyds, both sentences to run concurrently.