ALLOA'S resident sheriff hit out at the use of short prison sentences before releasing a repeat offender back into the community last week.

Sheriff David Mackie claimed custody would be "of little use to anybody" in addressing the issues that led to Thomas Allardice appearing in the dock on Thursday, September 5.

The 41-year-old Alloa man previously admitted stealing bank cards, car keys, a sword and various other items from an address in Tullibody on July 7 this year.

He also stole a car on the same date, and both offences were committed while he was on bail for other matters.

Allardice also appeared in relation to breaches of various court orders, which were imposed for offences such as assaulting police officers and threatening a shop worker.

In mitigation, solicitor Alastair Ross told Alloa Sheriff Court last week that his client was keen to bring his criminal activities to an end.

He said: "He understands he has to break the cycle of offending – and he asks for another final opportunity."

Sheriff David Mackie said he was reluctant to send Allardice to prison for his crimes, because evidence suggests short periods in custody do not address the roots of offending behaviour.

He said: "I would much rather try to address these issues.

"Repeated short sentences of imprisonment are proven to be of little use to anybody.

"They disrupt your life and have little prospect of addressing the issues that are bringing you to court.

"In relation to these matters there could only be a relatively short sentence, if I imposed one.

"So, I will give you a further opportunity to address these issues in the community."

The sheriff then gave Allardice, of Kent Road, a community payback order with the requirement he undergo supervision for a period of two years.