GEOAMEY has been slated by two separate sheriffs after repeatedly failing to bring prisoners to court on time.

The firm was criticised by Alloa's Sheriff David Mackie and Stirling's Sheriff Wylie Robertson earlier this month for the errors, and subsequent delays to proceedings.

The company has been responsible for Scottish court custody and prisoner escorting services since January.

While issues with the company's services have been widely reported throughout the country, the past few weeks have seen the problems flare up closer to home.

On Thursday, December 5, Sheriff Mackie had to wait several hours before he could sentence Alloa's Orlandi robber Connor Whalen for an unrelated theft charge.

Whalen's solicitor, Elaine Buist, said she wasn't sure why GEOAmey hadn't brought her client to the Clacks court on time.

She also claimed the last time Whalen was supposed to be brought to the Alloa court, GEOAmey had mistakenly taken him to Airdrie Sheriff Court instead.

Baffled by the error, she said: "Presumably that's on the basis they both begin with 'a'."

Sheriff Mackie went on to describe the hold up as "frustrating to say the least".

Just a few days later, Sheriff Robertson found himself feeling similarly annoyed.

On Wednesday, December 11, he had to delay sentencing on Alloa upskirter Ryan Fox for around two hours because he hadn't arrived at Stirling Sheriff Court on time.

Clearly agitated, Sheriff Robertson said GEOAmey's failure to keep on schedule was "becoming intolerable" and "beyond embarrassing".

And the following day, the same sheriff was again forced to delay sentencing another prisoner who hadn't arrived on time.

Sheriff Robertson had requested Sauchie's James Foxton be brought to court early on Thursday, December 12, so he could deal with the sex offender's case before 10am.

But again, the prisoner was not in court on time.

It later transpired the fiscal's office may have been partly to blame for not communicating to GEOAmey that Foxton was to arrive early.

However, Sheriff Robertson claimed GEOAmey not bringing prisoners to court on time was a "continued and repeated problem" and said: "I don't think this court's the only court that's suffering."

In response to the criticisms, GEOAmey has issued an apology for causing delays.

A spokesperson said: "GEOAmey accepts and acknowledges the difficulties experienced in the Forth Valley area and we apologise to the courts for the frustration delays cause.

"GEOAmey is fully committed to resolving issues as we progressively change the delivery model of this contract to better reflect the needs of our criminal justice partners across Scotland.

"Whilst making the necessary changes inevitably takes time, as does the recruitment and training of new custody officers, we will continue to do all we can to minimise disruption to court business.

"Whilst accepting the concerns raised, the majority of individuals are presented to court at the time required and without incident; however, we remain committed to working towards ensuring that the minority of cases that fall below the expected high standards are prevented in future."