A BUNGLING burglar broke in to a Greenock shop by bashing a hole through a wall — unaware that a CCTV camera was filming him.

Brian Tong is seen on the footage poking his head through the crude opening in full view of the surveillance lens before groaning as he strains to haul himself inside the shop.

The 33-year-old — who helped himself to nearly £1,000 worth of goods — was later spotted selling some of the stolen items from a carrier bag in the town centre.

Greenock Sheriff Court heard how Tong battered his way into the GD Pet Supplies store on Newton Street via a partition wall with a neighbouring premises at 1.40am.

Prosecutor Saud Ul Hasan said: "The accused removed two laptop computers and a quantity of cash, the amount of which is unknown.

"Other items taken included a digital camera and a quantity of pet supplies.

"The total value is estimated at £949.10."

Tong — who has more than 30 previous convictions for dishonesty — tried to sell the computers to the owner of a convenience store and was spotted dealing dog leads from a bag.

Fiscal depute Mr Ul Hasan said: "Witnesses opened the premises at 8.20am on October 4 last year and observed the property to be in a state of disarray.

"There was a black and blue cap and a set of house keys not recognised by them.

"Police viewed the footage and identified the accused."

Mr Ul Hasan added: "Police on uniformed foot patrol in the town centre saw the accused in possession of a bag that he appeared to be selling items from.

"There were miscellaneous pet supplies and dog leads with the tags still attached."

Despite being caught red-handed Tong insisted that he had nothing to do with the raid.

However, faced with overwhelming evidence against him, he later admitted to it and told police where they could find the stolen laptops which, the court heard, contained important information for the day-to-day running of the shop.

Tong, of Bawhirley Road, sat in the dock of the court with his head in his hands as the CCTV footage was played.

His lawyer, David Tod, urged Sheriff Derek Hamilton to place his client on a drug treatment and testing order (DTTO).

Mr Tod said: "We are not dealing with some kind of steely-eyed thief.

"Custody I don't think does anything to address the drug problem that he has."

But Sheriff Hamilton decided that two years imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence.

The sheriff told Tong: "I note the terms of the background report and the author doesn't have much confidence that you would comply with the strict regime of a DTTO.

"You have 31 convictions for dishonesty, and three of those are for housebreaking.

"This was housebreaking at a commercial premises with the potential to upset the business.

"Although it was a rather crass way to go about it, you were obviously determined to gain access to the shop."