A KNIFEPOINT robber who held up two taxi drivers will be back on the streets of Greenock within weeks.

Kieran McDermid was sentenced to 15 months detention over the offences, however the jail term has been backdated to February when he was first remanded in custody.

As offenders generally serve only half of their headline sentences it means that the 19-year-old will be released back into the community next month.

The Telegraph told in May how McDermid — who once harboured an ambition to become a paramedic — attacked one cabbie during a late night hold up in Greenock Cemetery.

He was arrested after robbing a second taxi driver of a £10 note and a handful of coins in Larkfield.

His lawyer, Edel McGinty, told a sentencing hearing: "Mr McDermid has limited recollection of the offences and it will not be a surprise to the court to learn that he was under the influence of drugs."

Miss McGinty added: "We effectively have a boy who, at 15, undertook voluntary work at the hospice and at 16 got work experience in the palliative care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and that was with a view to becoming a paramedic.

"It is quite an unfortunate path taken for someone who had such hope and ambition to find himself in custody for such serious matters."

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre said he had taken McDermid's youth, mental health issues and his 'turbulent and challenging childhood' into account in selecting the sentence.

The young offender, who also has a conviction for having a knife within Inverclyde Royal Hospital, will be subject to seven months of supervision in the community when he is released.

McDermid duped the cemetery attack cabbie into a bogus fare by telling the man it was the anniversary of his gran's death.

But he fled empty-handed after the brave driver grabbed his blade and snapped it.

Solicitor Miss McGinty told Greenock Sheriff Court: "He is quite frankly horrified at the charges and he appreciates the level of distress both taxi drivers experienced as a result of his actions.

"He has struggled within the custodial environment and has had issues with self harm.

"His level of remorse for the matters before the court does appear to be genuine.

"He has quite frankly entered the courts with terribly serious charges, with a background where the matters before the court are out of character for him.

"This appears to be something that has given Mr McDermid quite a big shock."

Sheriff McIntyre told McDermid, formerly of Caithness Road in Larkfield, that his childhood experiences 'cannot excuse criminal conduct'.

The sheriff added: "It is hard to imaging that your childhood experiences have not affected you as a young adult.

"Your use of cannabis and cocaine from a young age led to an addiction to such drugs.

"I am satisfied that a community-based sentence would not protect the public and that the risk of harm is too great.

"I hope that your rehabilitation helps both you and protects the public in the longer term."