A FAIFLEY man who was caught with drugs worth £1,400 in a Clydebank street has been allowed to stay at large “by the thinnest of margins” while a social work report is prepared on him.

Thomas Smith, of Craigbanzo Street, was found in possession of cannabis and cannabis resin in Second Avenue on March 30 last year.

The 30-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to committing two possession charges four months after being granted bail at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court last Friday, Sheriff John Hamilton said he was considering putting Smith behind bars after he failed to attend appointments with social workers to enable them to prepare a background report.

Smith’s solicitor, Phil Lafferty, said one appointment was missed because his client was attending a work trial with a company of tree surgeons – and that he missed another appointment because he left his home after falling out with his parents and didn’t see a letter from the social work department.

Sheriff Hamilton said: “Why should he be allowed his liberty? He was in court. He pleaded guilty to two charges.

“He has failed to appear in court in the past. There was a warrant issued for his arrest. He got the privilege of bail. He’s got other convictions. And he’s found with £1,400 worth of drugs. Why shouldn’t I just remand him?”

Mr Lafferty replied: “It’s difficult to contradict any of that. However, he didn’t set out with the intention of failing to co-operate. And it is charges of possession, so it can’t be said that the eventual outcome is inevitably going to be custody.”

Sheriff Hamilton replied: “He breaks the law. He breaks court orders. He’s got previous for misuse of drugs. And when he’s granted the privilege of bail, he doesn’t turn up.

“Why should we spend time and money waiting for him to deign to appear?”

Mr Lafferty again insisted Smith “didn’t set out to deliberately frustrate the administration of justice” and asked the sheriff to “exercise a degree of discretion”.

Sheriff Hamilton told Smith: “You must understand the importance of co-operating. I suspect, looking at you in the dock, that the penny may have dropped.

“By the thinnest of margins, I will allow you the privilege of bail.”

Smith was told to come back to court on March 22.