A MUSSELBURGH man who grabbed cash from a store till and attempted a similar theft at a nearby newsagent’s in the town has been jailed for 18 months.

Steven Hay entered RS McColl newsagent on the town’s High Street and, after picking up an item from the shelves, he went to the front counter.

But as the shop worker opened the till, 42-year-old Hay reached over and attempted to grab cash from the till tray.

Fortunately, the employee spotted what was happening and managed to close the till in time.

About 45 minutes later, Hay then entered the nearby Farmfoods outlet where he attempted a similar offence and managed to make off with a £10 note.

He initially asked an employee if they had any biscuits for sale for 50p and when at the counter he again made a lunge for the till once it was opened.

The female staff member managed to grab the thief and the pair subsequently ended up in a struggle with each other.

During the physical confrontation, a quantity of money scattered onto the floor and Hay managed to grab £10 before fleeing.

Police were contacted and Hay was found quickly in a nearby street, with the £10 note recovered.

Last Tuesday, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that CCTV footage “clearly identified the accused” and he was arrested and charged.

Hay appeared at the court from custody and admitted his guilt to the two offences.

Solicitor Angela Craig, defending, said Hay had a lengthy record for crimes of dishonesty and that he had suffered from “a long-standing drug dependency problem”.

Ms Craig said that her client “could not recollect” the events of that day as he was “under the influence of some substance at the time”.

In mitigation, Ms Craig said that Hay had not pre-planned the offences and that no weapons had been involved in any of the crimes.

Sheriff Robert Weir said there was “no alternative to a custodial sentence” and jailed Hay for 18 months, backdated to July 31.

Hay pleaded guilty to attempting to rob an employee of a quantity of cash at RS McColl, High Street, Musselburgh, on July 30.

He also admitted to assaulting an employee and robbing her of a quantity of money at Farmfoods, High Street, Musselburgh, on the same date.