A CAR thief has been jailed for a four-month crime spree.

Paul Matthew Cowan stole two cars and targeted unlocked vehicles in Clydebank, Old Kilpatrick, Bearsden and the west end of Glasgow between September 2016 and January this year.

His haul ranged from a £40,000 BMW and a Ford Fiesta valued at £6,000 to magnets, mobile phone cables and small amounts of cash – and, a few days before Christmas, a quantity of presents being stored in one vehicle.

The 41-year-old told social workers he was “too old for the jail” – but was promptly proved wrong when he was sentenced to 32 months behind bars at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week.

Cowan, described in court papers as a prisoner at HMP Low Moss, appeared for sentencing on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to 10 charges of theft.

Cowan’s crime spree began in Bearsden’s Ravelston Road on September 11 or 12 last year when he stole one car and then entered another before stealing a key and a quantity of documents from inside.

Two weeks later, on September 26, he stole a second car, this time from Lochend Drive, also Bearsden.

That was the end of his theft of vehicles themselves – but from then on Cowan’s focus was on vehicles which had not been secured by their owners.

On December 20 or 21, at Sydenham Road in the Hyndland area of Glasgow, he entered two insecure vehicles, stealing jackets, scarves, presents and £50 in cash from one and £2 in cash from the other.

On January 6 or 7 this year he turned his attention to Clydebank, stealing £100, a mobile phone cable and a jacket from an insecure vehicle in Dumbarton Road.

And then, on January 12 or 13, his one-man crime wave hit a peak in Old Kilpatrick, when he stole a jacket, phone charger and phone cables from a car parked in Old Dalnottar Road, a hoodie and sat nav system from another car in Dumbarton Road, and £4 cash, two magnets and a mobile phone from two separate vehicles in Jura Drive.

All were insecure at the time Cowan committed the thefts.

Sentence was deferred on Cowan’s previous appearance in court, on July 18, to allow social workers time to prepare a background report.

At Friday’s hearing, Cowan’s solicitor told Sheriff Maxwell Hendry: “It’s not a question of whether custody will be imposed – it clearly will be.”

The social work report stated that Cowan’s “urge to use drugs is stronger than his empathy for his victims”.

Addressing Cowan directly, the sheriff said: “You may well be too old for the jail, but jail is where you go, because of your record and your apparent inability to control your criminal offending.”

Cowan was jailed for 32 months. He will also be supervised on release for 12 months.