Notorious North Lanarkshire car crook jailed for two years at court, could be released come February because of early release rules

A worried resident warned a driver that prowlers were in the estate - not realising he was talking to a notorious car thief and housebreaker.

Serial offender Anthony Ferrie, once at the centre of a manhunt after escaping from prison guards, was behind the wheel of an Audi Q2 that he'd just stolen.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that when the man realised the car belonged to a neighbour he asked the driver if he lived in the estate.

Ferrie replied 'Aye my man. I'm just going to my work'.

The brazen thief then drove away in the stolen £17,000 car which has never been recovered.

Ferrie, 40, was jailed for two years this week. He admitted stealing the vehicle from Bannockburn Place, New Stevenston, on November 12 last year.

John Coogan, prosecuting, said a resident was wakened shortly before 5am by his ring doorbell security device and saw a hooded male outside.

The fiscal stated: "He got into his car with a view to finding out who the individual was.

"He saw another car and alerted the driver about a potential prowler being in the estate. He then identified the car as being his neighbour's. The driver was Ferrie."

Police recognised Ferrie through the doorbell camera footage.

Ferrie, of Burnside Tower, Motherwell, also admitted further charges of car theft and housebreaking.

He stole a BMW 5 Series from Apollo Crescent, Mossendl, on August 17 last year.

It was recovered in Motherwell later the same day and returned to the owner. Ferrie's DNA was on the steering wheel.

Then on February 9 this year, while on bail, Ferrie broke into a house in Dalzell Avenue, Motherwell, and stole jewellery and watches worth around £1,700.

A week later he forced entry to a house in Lapwing Crescent, Motherwell, and made off with £60, 75 euros, two mobile phones, an Xbox and a handbag.

CCTV and doorbell footage helped to catch him but none of the stolen property was recovered.

In 2016 Ferrie bolted from guards taking him from HMP Addiewell to St John's Hospital in Livingston.

He was on the run for two weeks before being arrested in Bellshill, his home town.

Defence agent Margaret Chalmers described Ferrie as being "totally institutionalised" after spending virtually all of his adult life in prison. His convictions date back to 2001 when he was 18.

Mrs Chalmers said: "On his release from his last prison sentence, he managed for the first time to secure his own house.

"But, without help from social work, he had no idea how to cope.

"He tried to stay on the straight and narrow but was completely out of his depth and started using drugs again which has been a problem throughout his life."

Sheriff Siobhan Connelly said she had to balance Ferrie's interests with the protection of the public.

She stated: "For the victims it's not just a matter of finance. Personal security is a concern."

Ferrie, who has been in prison since his arrest in February, had his sentence backdated.

That means, under early release rules, he could be free in February 2024.

The sheriff said he will then be under social work supervision for a year.

She told him: "I hope that this provides some structure on your release from custody. Hopefully we won't be seeing you back again."