TWO Bellsmyre drug addicts have been handed community payback orders after abusing supermarket staff and threatening to stab workers.

Paul Young and Elaine Mckenzie were also given a dressing down at Dumbarton Sheriff Court after being ejected from the courtroom for talking before their sentencing hearing last week.

The pair, from Merkins Avenue, appeared in the dock together on Tuesday, March 3 after admitting to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner which was likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm.

Young, 34, and Mckenzie, 45, pleaded guilty to repeatedly shouting, swearing, adopting an aggressive demeanour and uttering threats of violence towards employees at the Co-op store in Carrochan Road, Balloch and at the Bank Street Aldi in Alexandria on January 5 this year.

Not guilty pleas to stealing quantities of groceries and alcohol from both shops were accepted by prosecutors.

The court heard last week that police were called to the Co-op on the morning of January 5 after staff working there became suspicious of Young and Mckenzie in the store.

One employee was said to have spoken to Young who became aggressive towards the worker and was unwilling to let go of a trolley, before he pulled it away and shouted: "I'll stab you."

The pair then left and police were unable to trace them until later that day when they visited Aldi in Alexandria.

An Aldi security guard approached Young after observing him alone in the alcohol aisle and attempting to make his way towards the door.

Young was asked to come back into the shop when Mckenzie intervened, shouting: "If he gets the jail all your windows will get put in."

After Young told employees: "Don't f*****g touch me, I'll batter yous," Mckenzie said: "Take the assault charge and crack all four of them."

Both accused were taken into the back of the store before being cautioned and charged by police.

The pair had turned up at court without a lawyer, however, after being told they may want to seek legal advice before proceeding they were eventually represented by defence solicitor Stephen McGuire.

Mr McGuire told the hearing that Young has a significant criminal record, including one serious conviction which resulted in a hefty prison sentence.

"He has been battling a heroin addiction for the last year or so," Mr McGuire said.

"He wanted to admit to it and needed help.

"It is very unfortunate that that is played down in the [background social work] report. If he does need help and is serious about getting help then he needs to be open and honest about it.

"He was somewhat deflated when he realised that he had not done himself justice with the author of this report."

Mr McGuire added: "Notwithstanding the very concerning nature of the report before the court he has been able to lead a trouble-free life for a period of time, but he has been honest enough with me to say that if someone offered him drugs he would find it difficult to say no.

"There is a focus for intervention which would be not only for his benefit but for the community's. I would urge your ladyship to consider that as an alternative to custody."

Mr McGuire told the court that there were "clear parallels" between the situations of both Young and Mckenzie, and the latter's misuse of drugs also involved heroin, as well as valium.

"She has engaged with addiction services and has been making progress," Mr McGuire said.

"There is support there for her which she is taking advantage of and she would benefit from additional supervision.

"Her behaviour in relation to these two separate offences is completely inexcusable."

Young and Mckenzie were placed under social workers' supervision for 18 months and both must complete 120 hours of unpaid work in the community within 12 months.

Sheriff Frances McCartney said: "The behaviours that I have been told about this morning are appalling. People are entitled to go about their work in a shop without being subjected to abuse.

"This is an opportunity now to ensure that you get away from drugs and lead an alternative lifestyle. If you do not take up that opportunity then custody will follow."

Sheriff McCartney added: "Your conduct this morning has not been at the standard I expect."