A 'DESPERATE' debt-ridden shopworker stole £1,500 worth of scratchcards — and didn't win ANYTHING.

Andrew Lochrie, 28, helped himself to rolls of the National Lottery instants games hoping to be able to clear his mounting arrears.

But there wasn't a single winning card among the pile he stole from his employers the Co-op, Greenock Sheriff Court was told.

Lochrie's lawyer, Edel McGinty, said: "None of the scratchcards yielded anything."

Hapless Lochrie has now been ordered to pay the Co-op £1,500 in compensation for the theft.

He committed the offence at the company's store on Shore Street, Gourock, between August 1 and October 24, 2017.

Solicitor Miss McGinty said: "There was an investigation within the workplace and he made full and frank admissions to his employers.

"He is filled with shame and regret.

"It is not lost on Mr Lochrie that he was in a position of trust.

"This was an act of desperation at a desperate time."

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre remarked: "That is a lesson in itself that £1,500 worth of scratchcards didn't yield anything."

The sheriff told Lochrie, whose address was not given in court: "This was a hopeless attempt by you to address your problem.

"One-thousand-five-hundred pounds is a significant amount for an employer to lose and you were in a position of trust.

"This offence crosses the threshold for prison but I must consider whether there are any alternatives to that.

"The social work department has made it plain that you are suitable for a community-based disposal."

Lochrie, whom the court heard has secured full-time employment elsewhere, has also been ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work within nine months.

He was told that it would have been 300 hours — the maximum — were it not for his guilty plea.