A SMASH and grab thief was caught red-handed thanks to a member of the Inverclyde public helping police.

Kerry Drummond, 35, hurled a brick through the window of a flat and also forced open a car in separate raids on neighbouring streets.

She helped herself to gold and silver rings, earrings, a watch, a clock, a jewellery box and aftershave during the early-hours break-ins.

Drummond was arrested after a householder who'd heard a 'loud noise' looked out of her window to see the thief in action, Greenock Sheriff Court was told.

The eyewitness immediately called police and provided a detailed description of Drummond and information about her direction of movement.

Prosecutor Hazel Emmerson said: "The witness observed the accused loitering in a nearby garden and then starting to walk with a brick in her hand.

"The witness contacted police and officers noted a female matching the description given."

The court heard how Drummond was found laden with loot on Brachelston Street and with fresh cuts on her hands and arms.

Fiscal depute Mrs Emmerson said: "The accused stated, 'I got this stuff from an empty flat down there'.

"A small glass window of a flat had been smashed from the outside and there was a large brick on the kitchen floor."

Drummond pleaded guilty to stealing personal and household items from the glovebox of a car at an address on Old Inverkip Road as well as the house raid.

She committed the offences at around 4.45am on January 5.

Her not guilty pleas to charges of forcing open a second car and stealing computer equipment and cash, and possession of cannabis resin, were accepted by by the Crown.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said that his client had a 'chronic' drug problem.

Mr Gallagher added: "She has simply no recollection of these matters at all. The background report reflects an expression by her of remorse."

The solicitor suggested that Drummond, of the Inverclyde Centre, be placed on a community payback order.

Sheriff Thomas Ward responded: "She had one of those before, and she breached it."

The sheriff told Drummond: "I consider that there is no other appropriate way of dealing with you other than by way of a custodial sentence."

He handed down a 96-day term.