A SERIAL thief described as "a plague" on a local community was caught after angry residents posted CCTV pictures of him on Facebook.

Mark Robertson broke into several businesses and made off with a variety of small goods including cash, a wallet and a camera last year.

Sneak thief Robertson targeted portacabins and vehicles in small East Lothian towns and villages near to where he lived.

He also stole about £130 of toiletries from a Boots store in Haddington last October.

And following the spate of thefts last winter, CCTV images were then circulated on the social media site in a bid to identify the thief.

The images of Robertson were shared on the Pencaitland Facebook page by members of the community council last November.

Now following the successful online appeal, the 37-year-old thief has been jailed for 21 months following an appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Robertson, described as a prisoner of Edinburgh Prison, previously pleaded guilty to four charges of theft between October 17 and December 23 last year.

Not guilty pleas to five similar offences were accepted by the Crown.

During Thursday's hearing, the court was told that Robertson had been described as "a pest" and "a plague on the area" by the Crown and a sheriff.

Solicitor Kenneth Cloggie, defending, said his client had been living rough in a disused doctor's surgery building and had basically been "scavenging around".

Mr Cloggie added: "He can be distinguished from someone breaking into houses in the middle of the night.

"He is not someone who is breaking into domestic premises and making lots of money out of that - he was just scavenging around."

Sheriff Thomas Welsh told Robertson: "You have a lengthy record for crimes of dishonesty.

"If you had gone to trial I would have imposed a custodial sentence of 24 months, but given the early plea I will reduce that to 21 months."

Robertson pleaded guilty to stealing gift boxes containing toiletries from Boots, Haddington, on October 17 last year.

He also admitted breaking into Tranent business premises Cut Price Timber and making off with cash and a pair off gloves on November 26 last year.

Robertson also admitted breaking into a portacabin at Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland, and stealing a camera and and a sum of money on November 27 last year.

And a fourth admission was he forced open a locked vehicle at Tollhouse Grove, Tranent, on December 22 or 23 last year.