A YOUNG man has narrowly avoided a prison sentence after breaching his community payback order for the third time.

Dillon Pitzer was convicted at trial of assaulting another male before brandishing a knife at him and striking him on the hand with the weapon, to his injury.

The charge was amended to omit sections which state that the accused demanded the complainer give him his possessions. It also dropped an allegation that he struck him with the knife with an intent to rob him.

Pitzer, of Hallpark, Sauchie, was given 300 hours of unpaid work, the maximum available, as a direct alternative to custody.

He twice failed to comply with the order and came within a whisker of being sent to prison when he appeared at Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday last week.

His solicitor, Mr Black, said his client, who has completed around 100 hours of his term, works nightshift at a recycling plant in Grangemouth with 12 hour shifts from 7pm to 7am.

Sheriff Derek Reekie batted away suggestions that he should be given another chance at unpaid work and said Pitzer was "way beyond" being given a financial penalty.

The sheriff, clearly unimpressed with the 20-year-old, told Pitzer's lawyer that his client was clearly "unwilling to participate" and had been given "umpteen chances" by the court.

He continued: "You are back here time and time again, thumbing your nose at the authorities. Ignoring a court order cannot be tolerated.

"It is disgusting that you are wasting people's money by not complying."

He has now been given a restriction of liberty order which prevents him from leaving his home between the hours of 10am and 4.30pm, thus only allowing him to leave when he is going and coming back from his employment.

Sheriff Reekie added: "The only credit to you is that you have not reoffended since. Be warned: this is a direct alternative to custody. If you come back here, I will have little choice in what to do."