POLICE who turned up to a report of a disturbance at a flat in Alexandria arrived to find a smashed TV set, broken electrical items and DVDs strewn all over a common close.

A court has heard that the man responsible, John Gray, acted out of "frustration" after his benefits were cut because he was carrying out a previous unpaid work punishment.

The 41-year-old appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to leaving two neighbours fearful and alarmed as a result of his threatening or abusive behaviour at his flat in North Street on November 3.

Sentence had been deferred to allow social workers time to prepare a background report on Gray.

Emma Petterson, prosecuting, told the court: "One witness could hear the accused shouting, swearing and going around his house throwing items around.

"A second witness phoned police; when officers arrived, they saw DVDs, broken electrical items, a smashed TV set and other items scattered at the bottom of the close and on the stairs.

"They saw the two neighbours visibly frightened and upset." Gray's solicitor, Judith Reid, admitted her client's behaviour was "slightly strange" and added: "It seems to have been a loss of temper from being frustrated at his own circumstances, which are described in full in the social work report.

"A previous offence required Mr Gray to change the area in which he lived, and appears to have resulted in him becoming socially isolated from his family and friends.

"He is living in an area where he has no support whatsoever.

"It appears that his attending for hours of unpaid work has resulted in his sickness benefit being stopped, meaning he was surviving on Universal Credit at the time of this offence.

"He was struggling both emotionally and financially, and has effectively taken his frustration out on his own stuff.

"He had no particular desire to upset his neighbours, but he appreciates they would have been alarmed by his behaviour."

Ms Reid suggested that Gray – who, she said, was no longer on minimum benefits – recognised himself that social work supervision "would not be a bad thing" in helping to address his behaviour, his feelings of isolation and his mental health.

Sheriff John Hamilton placed Gray on a community payback order; he will be supervised by social workers for 12 months, and must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work by the end of June as a punishment.