A MAN who was facing jail for inexplicably smashing a shovel into three cars came to court with hundreds of pounds in borrowed cash to pay for the damage.

John Paul Hilferty had been warned that he would be sent to prison if he failed to stump up a 'substantial' amount for his drink-fuelled late night vandalism.

Hilferty, 23, lashed out at a moving Skoda taxi with two passengers inside before wielding the garden tool and striking it against parked Audi and Mercedes vehicles.

Sheriff Thomas Ward warned in July that his offer of £7.50-a-week was 'not enough', adding: "He will be back here with a substantial amount of money, otherwise he's going to jail."

The damage to all three cars was put at £370 and Hilferty handed over exactly that figure in cash from the dock at his sentencing hearing.

Lawyer Aidan Gallagher said: "I think Sheriff Ward wanted to see the colour of his money to begin with, and then decide on a disposal thereafter.

"He is not working at present and has borrowed the monies to show good faith to the court."

Hilferty — who was on an unpaid work order for a class A drug offence — chased after the taxi on Belville Street after whacking it.

Prosecutor Ziad Ul Hassan said: "He proceeded to strike the vehicle several times and the taxi was driven off with the accused in pursuit of it."

Hilferty then 'turned his attention' to the parked cars, the court was told.

He committed the offences at around 10.30pm on March 28.

Despite paying for the damage, Hilferty, of Lawrence Street, must also complete a further 50 hours of unpaid work within three months.