A GUN offender who sparked an armed police response to recover a revolver he was illegally carrying in public has been spared prison.

Conall Kilmurry had been staying with his brother at a farm in Kilmacolm when he came across the handgun, Greenock Sheriff Court heard.

The 40-year-old dad-of-three was stopped near Central Station in Glasgow following a tip-off to officers, and the item was found in his holdall.

Prosecutor David Glancy said: "His brother owns the item which has been described in the report as a 'cowboy-style revolver'.

"It was still capable of some use as his brother is a member of a gunslinging group.

"The accused had the run of the house whilst living there."

The court heard the Kilmurry was intending to travel to Liverpool when he was arrested on Glasgow's Union Street on April 25.

As well as possession of the gun, he was charged with stealing it along with 80 dollars in cash but his not guilty pleas to these allegations were accepted.

Fiscal depute Mr Glancy said: "A report was made to police and firearms officers found the accused close to Central Station and the item was recovered from a holdall.

"When cautioned and charged he said, 'I didn't even know it was in my bag'."

Kilmurry's lawyer, Edel McGinty, said that he had checked himself in to a residential alcohol rehab unit before deciding to admit illegal possession of the gun.

Miss McGinty said: "It is a serious matter but it is a replica weapon and was not brandished in public or used to scare anyone."

The court heard that Kilmurry's partner and children reside in Liverpool, although he is currently engaged in contracted work in Dublin.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told him: "Because of the absence of a criminal record I'm prepared to deal with this by way of an alternative to a prison sentence."

Kilmurry was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.