A CONVICTED knife offender who has £620 worth of outstanding fines for other crimes is now facing the prospect of doing unpaid work.

Greenock man Martin Elliot was jailed in July after being caught carrying a blade in Greenock's east end and is currently waiting on benefits payments being set up following his release from custody, the town's sheriff court was told.

Sheriff Valerie Johnston declared an intention to rescind fines of £370 and £150 respectively and place Elliot, 31, on a community payback order instead.

The sheriff said: "Can he not do some unpaid work, instead of sitting at home playing computer games and watching daytime TV?

"Mind-numbing stuff.

"He looks like a fit man to me, he could get out in the fresh air and plant some trees."

Defence lawyer Edel McGinty raised a concern about her client's mental health and said that unpaid work 'may be setting him up to fail'.

Miss McGinty told the court: "If given unpaid work hours problems may arise and this would lead to significantly more trouble for him if he can't do the hours.

"He will be in a position to pay the fines."

Miss McGinty asked for the case to be continued for four weeks for a doctor's report on Elliot's ability to to any work.

Sheriff Johnstone said: "I see unpaid hours for people on benefits preferable to taking food out of their mouths and heat out of their homes in winter."

The sheriff told Elliot, formerly of Belville Street: "It would be my intention to have you do work in the community with the level one order.

"If you have genuine difficulties that make you unable to do it that would be unfair, so I will continue the matter for a report on your fitness."

The matter is due to call again on November 12.