A CONVICTED sex offender pulled out a knife in front of two social workers after turning up drunk at their Greenock office.

Patrick McNelis was found sprawled across a couch within Hector McNeil House before producing the black-handled blade in the presence of both women.

The 42-year-old — subject to supervision after targeting a young student at a bus stop — had been sleeping rough after being denied a room at the Inverclyde Centre homelessness unit.

Prosecutor Martina McGuigan told Paisley Sheriff Court how McNelis was 'clearly under the influence of alcohol' when he entered Hector McNeil House on the afternoon of February 21.

Ms McGuigan said: "Staff alerted two witnesses, who knew the accused, that he was in the reception area.

"Both witnesses approached the accused and saw that he was lying across a couch.

"The accused removed a black-handled knife.

"The two witnesses, unsure of his mental state and level of intoxication, were fearful of his actions."

McNelis, who has been remanded in custody since the incident, pleaded guilty on indictment through lawyer Gerry Keenan to having the knife in a public place without reasonable excuse of lawful authority.

His not guilty plea to a charge of having the knife as an offensive weapon was accepted by the Crown.

McNelis handed the blade over to one of the social workers.

Fiscal depute Ms McGuigan said: "Both said that they would do their best to find him accommodation before leaving for the safety of their offices.

"Police were contacted and the accused was aggressive at this point.

"He left before police arrived at 4.15pm.

"Officers traced him to the Inverclyde Centre where he became agitated and abusive towards them and was handcuffed to the front and taken to Greenock police office."

Solicitor Mr Keenan said that a background report would be required because McNelis remains subject to a statutory two-year supervision order for his sex offence.

The Telegraph told in November 2018 how he caused a 17-year-old student to suffer a panic attack at a bus stop on West Stewart Street.

He made sexual remarks towards her and repeatedly put his arms around her before kissing her to the side of her head.

McNelis, previously of Wellpark Buildings, was ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a period of two years.

Sheriff James Spy has deferred sentence on McNelis until July 7 and remanded him in custody.