A serial thief stole £19,000 from a shop in Motherwell and went on to commit similar crimes at business premises throughout Scotland.
Anthony Hanlon (55), of Rutherglen, is now behind bars after he admitted a string of charges at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
He struck at the Spar in Leven Street, Motherwell, in February 2011. The shop’s CCTV pictures showed him strolling casually along an aisle before the theft.
Shop owner Mohammed Nasir was in the back office getting the takings ready for the bank when he was called to the till to help with a queue of customers.
He was away from the office for only a few minutes, but in that time Hanlon nipped in, grabbed a bag of cash and ran out to a waiting car.
The crook went on to steal four-figure sums from premises in Fife, Glasgow, Milngavie and Ayrshire.
Hanlon was arrested after stealing an undisclosed sum from a shop in Stirling last September and has been in custody since.
More on this story in the Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker, on sale now.