A DOLLAR man will go on trial later this year accused of causing fear and alarm to women while they were out exercising during the early stages of the pandemic.

Mark Russell, of Curlers Court, Dollar, is alleged to have sometimes hidden in bushes alongside the rural routes, stepping out when his alleged victims passed by and invading their personal space.

However, his summary trial has now been postponed "administratively" until October 6, 2021.

A total of seven women are said to have been targeted by Russell since the start of Covid-19 outbreak last year.

An eighth woman is said to have been followed in the run-up to the crisis.

The incidents are said to have taken place at different spots near the foot of the Ochil Hills and on the West Fife Way cycle route from Clackmannan to Dunfermline.

Russell, 33, is said to have behaved in a threatening and abusive manner likely to cause a reasonable person fear and alarm in the case of all eight alleged victims by "maintaining unnecessarily close proximity" to them.

The last incident is said to have taken place on May 7, 2020, on the old Clackmannan-Dunfermline railway line bike path, where Russell is alleged to have concealed himself in bushes before staring at and pursuing two women passers-by, "knowingly failing to observe government Covid-19 social distancing guidelines" while doing so, and thereafter returning to conceal himself in bushes.

It is alleged that in committing this offence he breached an undertaking he had previously given to police to stay away from "cycle paths, nature trails or secluded areas that could be construed as popular walking routes by the public".

He is alleged to have pursued and maintained unnecessarily close proximity to two women on National Cycle Route 767 between Dollar and Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, on March 11 and April 1, 2020, in the latter instance knowingly failing to observe coronavirus social distancing.

On April 11, he is said to have pursued a woman closely, failing to observe social distancing, on Back Road, Menstrie, and similarly pursued another woman on a public footpath between Back Road, Dollar and Harviestoun Home Farm on April 21.

On May 3, he is said to have pursued a woman on a public footpath between Devonknowes Farm, Coalsnaughton and Dollar, then concealed himself in bushes, then pursued her again, maintaining unnecessarily close proximity, knowingly flouting social distancing.

The earliest alleged incident is said to have taken place prior to the pandemic, between December 1, 2019, and January 19, 2020, when he is alleged to have "concealed himself in a country lane" at Back Road, Menstrie, stepped out when a woman was passing, and followed her, maintaining unnecessarily close proximity.

Russell pleaded not guilty to all eight charges against him when he appeared in handcuffs in the dock at Falkirk Sheriff Court in May last year. He was released on bail, subject to a curfew.

In addition to the new October 6 trial date, at Alloa Sheriff Court, Russell will face a preliminary hearing, also at Alloa, on September 20.