A MAN passed 'poor quality' counterfeit cash in shops in a desperate bid to buy merchandise to feed his drug habit.

Stephen Bonner, 31, pleaded guilty to four counts of handing over fake £20 notes at stores in Greenock and Port Glasgow.

He committed the offences last summer, shortly before receiving a 43-month prison sentence for other criminal matters.

Prosecutor Pamela Brady told Greenock Sheriff Court: "On each occasion the accused sought to tender notes to staff and they immediately felt that they were counterfeit and of poor quality.

"The accused was told that matters would be reported to the police, officers viewed CCTV from the various locations and identified him."

Bonner's former co-accused Nicole Graham, 18, had been charged with trying to return discount jewellery bought with a forged note in an alleged bid to get a genuine £20.

Her not guilty plea to this allegation was accepted and she was formally acquitted.

Bonner admitted four charges of passing fake cash and his denial of a further nine were accepted.

His lawyer, Aidan Gallagher, said: "He came into possession of the notes via an acquaintance.

"At the time he was having difficulty with illicit substances and was looking to fund his habit.

"It was rather obvious to the staff that the monies were not genuine but in his state of mind that was not so obvious to him, such was his desperation.

"He is now drug free and occupies his time as best he can in custody."

Sheriff Daniel Kelly sentenced Bonner, formerly of Hay Street in Greenock, to an additional four months imprisonment.