A MAN caught with a knife in a Greenock east end street has been jailed for more than a year — as a 'deterrent' to others.

Martin Elliot, 31, hurriedly threw the item into a garden on Clynder Road as police officers moved in on him.

But the 2.5 inch kitchen blade was quickly recovered following a search while Elliot was being detained.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told him: "It is plain sitting in this court that there is a real problem in Greenock with people being in possession of knives in public places.

"This matter is concerning to people and you, over many, many years, have contributed to this problem."

Elliot, of Belville Street, was spotted by police shortly before 7pm on March 23.

Prosecutor Emma Jeffrey said: "Officers shouted for him to stop and the accused was seen to move one of his hands into a pocket and remove an item and throw it into a garden.

"It resembled a small kitchen knife."

Despite the seriousness of the offence, Elliot instructed defence lawyer Edel McGinty to seek a community-based sentence for him.

Miss McGinty said:"In terms of analogous offences one has to go back to 2009 for anything regarding weapons.

"However, he is realistic about his record."

Elliot had been placed on a drug treatment and testing order six years ago but he has continued taking illegal substances, the court heard.

Miss McGinty said: "He feels that if given the opportunity to address his problems that would have a profound effect on him moving forward."

In sentencing Elliot to 13 months imprisonment, Sheriff McIntyre told him: "I have no confidence, given your record, that you would comply with any community payback order.

"This offence is so serious that a custodial sentence is necessary to reflect its gravity and to deter others."