A DISQUALIFIED driver was caught behind the wheel of a car nearly 20 years after being banned from the roads, Greenock Sheriff Court has heard.

Ian McAlpine, who months earlier had been found unlawfully carrying a knife in a public place without reasonable excuse, drove a Volkswagen Golf without a licence in Port Glasgow almost three years ago.

The 49-year-old previously pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and to the Road Traffic Act offence.

McAlpine appeared from custody at Greenock Sheriff Court for sentencing and was spared further time behind bars.

Prosecutor Lindy Scaife told the court that police spotted McAlpine driving the vehicle in the early hours of November 12 2021 at Anderson Street in the Port and checks were carried out after he was pulled over.

The fiscal depute said the police database revealed that McAlpine had been disqualified from driving until he passed an extended test which he had not done since his disqualification in 2005.

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Regarding the blade offence, Ms Scaife said officers stopped and searched McAlpine and a woman on Ann Street in the morning of June 17 2020 and he was asked if he had anything sharp on him.

He replied 'I've got a knife' and gestured towards his jacket pocket, where he had a small pouch with a small silver-handled knife with the blade fixed in its position.

McAlpine was cautioned and charged and replied: "It's naw a knife."

At Greenock police office, he told officers: "I've naw committed a crime."

Defence solicitor Gerry Keenan said McAlpine had experienced 'problems in the past, not all of which were of his own making' but had 'demonstrated some insight' into the offences.

Sheriff Anthony McGeehan imposed a community payback order as a direct alternative to imprisonment, with a requirement for McAlpine to complete 12 months of social work supervision and 180 hours of unpaid work.