A PENNILESS gambling addict stole £4.70 worth of food and threatened to 'batter' a store security worker when he was caught.

David Gemmell, 49, shouted and swore within a Lidl shop, then went on to help himself to merchandise worth more than £500 in a string of other raids in Port Glasgow.

Prosecutor Lindy Scaife told Greenock Sheriff Court: "At 9.30am a store detective on duty saw the accused enter the shop and act suspiciously.

"He placed a number of items in a basket and transferred them to a blue holdall he was carrying.

"The accused was approached and became irate, swearing in telling staff where to go and stating, 'I've got nothing'.

"The accused threatened to 'batter' the store detective.

"To the manager he stated, 'What time do you finish, I'll get you outside when your shift is finished'.

"The value of the items was £4.70 and they were recovered."

The court heard how Gemmell committed the Lidl offence in March but went on to steal aftershave, clothes and a sports watch worth a total of £412 from Watt Brothers in Port Glasgow on August 2.

He returned to the retail park store the following day and helped himself to two more sports watches and another garment with an overall value of £125.

The items stolen in his first Watt Brothers were not recovered.

Defence lawyer Chris McKenna said: "The thefts were related to a gambling addiction and he had accrued a number of gambling debts.

"His family have put the debts on hold until he is in a better position financially.

"His last conviction was three years ago."

Mr McKenna added: "Mr Gemmell is currently awaiting two operations, one of which is a hip replacement.

"He has referred himself for gambling addiction counselling, and also anger management.

"He is genuinely remorseful for his behaviour."

Sheriff Peter Anderson placed Gemmell, whose Lidl offence was committed in Johnstone, under supervision for 15 months and ordered him to pay £400 compensation.