AN AYRSHIRE man has been spared jail for brandishing a baseball while wearing a mask in a move described as “sinister” by a sheriff.

Mark McLean, whose address was given as Lochlibo Court, Irvine, pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening manner while shouting, swearing and brandishing a baseball bat on June 15 of this year.

The incident, which took place on Queen Street, Alva, while a second charge of carrying an offensive weapon was dropped.

Also removed from the charges was an allegation that there was any domestic abuse involved in the incident.

It is claimed that McLean approached his former girlfriend’s home where one of her relatives was, a relative who he had previous run-ins with, and he went to confront the man.

He put on a breathing mask and began hitting the front door with the baseball bat, while shouting “you’re a f*****g rat”.

The court previously heard from the fiscal that “the accused got into his vehicle and left. Residents were alarmed and phoned the police. It was not the woman who was threatened who phoned the police.”

The court then heard that police traced the vehicle which had the breathing mask inside a holdall in it and a baseball bat was found in a bush nearby.

The accused’s lawyer, Stephen McGuire told the court that there was some confusion at who the anger was being directed at, as the female was in the house at the time.

He insisted, however, that the tirade was aimed at the male relative, rather than his former partner.

Sheriff Alison McKay told the 23-year-old that he was in real danger of facing a custodial sentence for this crime as wearing a mask and attempting to hide his identity had “sinister connotations”.

She said he was lucky to getting his freedom as he was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work as well as a supervision order for 12 months.