A GREENOCK man was hauled into court after he inexplicably whacked a moving taxi and two other cars with a SHOVEL.

John Paul Hilferty must now stump up a 'substantial' sum of money to pay for the damage — or be jailed.

Hilferty, 23, lashed out at the vehicles for no apparent reason in the east end of Greenock in a late night fit of drink-fuelled rage.

The town's sheriff court heard how he initially battered the Skoda taxi — which had two passengers seated in its rear — with the garden tool on Belville Street.

Procurator fiscal Ziad Ul Hassan said: "The driver stopped the vehicle and the accused became aggressive and hostile towards him.

"He drove off but returned almost immediately and challenged the accused again, who had to be restrained by a female who was with him.

"However, he proceeded to strike the vehicle several times and the taxi was driven off with the accused in pursuit of it."

The court heard that Hilferty, of St Lawrence Street, quickly gave up the chase and 'turned his attention' to parked Audi and Mercedes vehicles.

He committed the offences at around 10.30pm on March 28, causing a total of £370 worth of damage to all three cars.

A community payback order for class A drug possession was in force at the time.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said that alcohol was the reason for his client's behaviour.

Sheriff Thomas Ward declared: "He will be back here with a substantial amount of money, otherwise he's going to jail.

"When he comes back I'll decide if he's been saving enough.

"I see he's offered £7.50 per week towards any fine.

"That's not enough.

"He's obviously spent more than that on getting drunk."

The case is due to call again on August 7.