AN Alexandria man caught with a knife claimed it was for his painting work but threw it away when stopped by police.

Stephen Brown, of O'Hare, Bonhill, previously admitted having the weapon on April 15, 2022, in the area without reasonable excuse or authority.

But sentencing in the case had faced considerable delays as the Crown investigated claims that the knife was for work purposes.

When searched by cops around 1.55pm on the day, they initially didn't find anything, but then saw Brown throw something away.

The knife was a folding knife with a locking mechanism and a blade of 6.8cm.

The fiscal depute told Dumbarton Sheriff Court on January 16 that Brown, 39, had "no plausible reason to have the item in his possession at the time of the incident".

Defence solicitor Scott Adair said: "It was a knife used for construction. He had a phone call from a family member and jumped in his van to collect the family member.

"The tools were in the van. He was not out working - that's why he pleaded guilty.

"He threw away [the knife] because he knew it would cause a problem."

He added that there had been a gap in offending since 2018, and his client had been under a curfew for "10-11 months".

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: "His record up to 2012 can be described as concerning."

He said to Brown: "I entertained considerable suspicions. I cannot sentence on suspicion. I have to give you the benefit of the doubt. I will not send you to prison."

He imposed a community payback order with social work superivision for 18 months. He must also do 225 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.

The sheriff also imposed a curfew from 7pm to 6am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 9.30pm to 6am on Tuesday and Thursday. That will last for four months.