A SERIAL thief with 'pages and pages' of previous convictions who went AWOL from court after brazenly stealing a smart TV from Tesco is set to avoid another jail term.

Peter Reilly strolled into the Greenock store with an accomplice who helped him lift the large item into a trolley before the pair made a beeline for the exit and fled in a car.

Reilly, 43, had a warrant issued for his arrest after failing to appear in court last July charged with the November 2018 theft.

But after finally being hauled into the dock and remanded in custody on the matter last month, a sheriff is now considering giving him a community-based sentence.

Reilly's lawyer, Aidan Gallagher, said: "I am told by him that he was recently put on a drug treatment and testing order at Paisley Sheriff Court for two years.

"Whilst he has a bad record, a certain view has been taken by another sheriff and he has been complying with the process with four negative drug tests thus far.

"He knows that if he does not comply with the order he will go back to prison."

Greenock Sheriff Court heard earlier how Reilly and a pal helped themselves to the £329 Toshiba TV, which has never been recovered.

Prosecutor John Penman said: "There was no attempt whatsoever to pay.

"The TV was loaded into a motor car and they left.

"Police were summoned and enquiries made, however, the accused was not immediately traced."

Sheriff Michael Higgins told Reilly: "Given your record, which is considerable, it strikes me that you have been given a handsome opportunity to try something different.

"That being so, and the age of this particular offence, I will not interfere with that course of action."

Sentence on Reilly, whose address was not given in court, has been deferred until March 31 for a review of his drug order and for him to be of good behaviour.

Sheriff Higgins told him: "All [sentencing] options remain on the table at this stage."