A DUMBARTON man who injured a police officer in a struggle with her outside a shop in the centre of the town has been jailed.

John Harkins was told he had “reached the end of the road” after repeatedly failing to comply with a community payback order (CPO) imposed for the crime – which happened almost two years ago.

Harkins shouted, swore, uttered threats and then injured the female officer’s hand while resisting her attempts to arrest him outside the Farmfoods store in the High Street on November 29, 2017.

He was handed a CPO as a punishment, but the order was revoked and re-imposed in June of this year after Harkins cited health problems for his failure to comply.

The 27-year-old appeared in court on Friday to answer for a breach of that re-imposed CPO – and despite a lengthy plea from his solicitor, Harkins was told by a sheriff that he had run out of chances to avoid a prison term.

Defence lawyer Stephen McGuire said his client’s health problems stemmed from DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in his leg which hampered his ability to do unpaid work.

Harkins, the court heard, had made his position worse by failing to stay in contact with his supervising officer on the CPO.

Mr McGuire said Harkins’ situation had not been helped by a change of address, saying he had moved from living with his brother to staying with his mother in Barwood Hill in Bellsmyre.

Sheriff John Hamilton said: “This is an offence which happened nearly two years ago. His first attempt at the order was woeful. The second attempt, since June, has been equally woeful.

“There is always some half-baked excuse. Either his behaviour is wilful or his life is so chaotic that he can’t do the order.”

Mr McGuire agreed that Harkins’ life was “chaotic” but said he was now in “a better place” – and said that Harkins was helping out his uncle, a painter and decorator, by “tidying up for him after jobs from time to time”.

“He hasn’t taken the opportunity up to this point,” Mr McGuire said, “and he has to recognise that.

“From what he tells me, he is fit to do unpaid work. At this stage I would submit that there is an alternative to custody – just.”

But the unimpressed sheriff replied: “He’s been told before that it’s not good enough. Does he get that?

“Why doesn’t he go to appointments? Why does having a sore leg prevent him engaging with his supervising officer?

“It seems that his leg is fine until he has to do unpaid work, and as soon as he has to do the work, he can’t.”

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Sheriff Hamilton told Harkins: “You’ve reached the end of the road. This case has gone on for far too long.”

The order was revoked and Harkins was jailed for three months.