A KNIFE carrier is beginning a three-year prison sentence after racking up his tenth conviction for having a blade in the street.

Shaun McGowan had a lock-back knife stuffed inside his boxer shorts when police stopped him in Port Glasgow in May.

McGowan, 27 — who also has a conviction for assault — had a pair of scissors in his pocket and three bags of cannabis too.

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told him: "Your record is just so awful for possession of knives.

"To have them on the streets represents a considerable risk to public safety."

McGowan was stopped and searched by police on the Port's William Street shortly before 7pm on May 9.

Procurator fiscal Fiona Holligan told Greenock Sheriff Court: "He stated that he had a knife in his boxer shorts.

"A lock-back knife with approximately a three-inch blade was found."

McGowan's lawyer, David Tod, said: "There is one conviction for assault on a summary complaint which didn't involve the use of a weapon.

"He has a record for carrying but not for using.

"However, he is realistic about what is going to happen to him today."

McGowan had a total of eight-and-a-half grams of cannabis, which Mr Tod said was valued in 'double figures'.

The solicitor said: "He has genuine mental health difficulties which have been diagnosed.

"In certain states of mind he is worried about what might happen to him in the community."

In jailing him, Sheriff McIntyre told McGowan: "People are rightly concerned about people who are so determined as you are to carry knives.

"They see the harm knives cause time and time again in the community.

"Your number of knife convictions is quite awful.

"These are your ninth and tenth convictions for possession of bladed items, and these have to be marked."

McGowan was told that he would have been sentenced to four years had it not been for his guilty plea.