A man who placed two people in a state of fear or alarm on Boxing Day of last year has dodged a prison term.

William Madden, of McHardy Crescent in Barrmill, appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week.

The 42-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to one charge and sentence had been deferred for reports. He returned to the court last week to hear his fate.

Madden behaved in a threatening or abusive manner at an address in Beith on December 26.

He shouted and threw various items – including a mobile phone – and placed a woman and a man in a state of fear or alarm.

Defence lawyer Peter Murray highlighted the positivity of Madden’s social work report and explained that his client had responsibilities as a carer for a relative.

Mr Murray added: “Given the nature of this offence and his previous conviction, sentence was deferred. You’ll see it’s a fairly positive report.”

Madden was ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work within the community.

Sheriff Michael Hanlon told Madden: “I’m going to impose a Community Payback Order on you as an alternative to custody.

“I’m going to take into account your plea of guilty. “The order would have been unpaid work for 200 hours; instead it will be for 160 hours. That’s to be completed within a period of six months.”