AN English government service was condemned by a sheriff last week for failing to help prepare reports on a cross-border criminal.

Paul Cairns, previously of Hood Street, Drumry, now lives in Dover Avenue, Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Previously the 24-year-old had been convicted of possession of cannabis along with two others at North Elgin Street and Jane Rae Gardens in Whitecrook. Cairns also had a knife when searched at Clydebank police office on May 23 this year.

But because he’s now living in England, Dumbarton Sheriff Court needed reports from the National Probation Service (NPS) before sentencing him.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said on August 28 that West Dunbartonshire Council’s (WDC) social worker in the court had made continuous attempts to contact NPS.

He said: “It’s difficult to not reach the conclusion they have thrown their toys out with the pram and are not going to prepare a report.

“One would hope that’s not the case.”

Defence solicitor Kenny Clark said his client had not heard from the NPS, adding: “We seem to be getting no cooperation from the English counterparts”.

After a pause in proceedings, WDC’s social worker confirmed they could prepare the report for a future hearing.

Sheriff Hendry said: “I appreciate that, given they’re not obliged to do so.

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“This is an excellent example of a lack of joined up thinking between the Scottish court system and English court system. The court needs a report given the nature of the offences.”

Sentence was deferred to October 11 for reports.