A HELENSBURGH man told his partner that he would “send dealers round” to hit her grandfather, a court has heard.

Andrew Punton repeatedly sent abusive and threatening text messages to his partner of eight years, calling her a “grass” and leaving her sobbing and shaking.

But the 23-year-old was spared a prison sentence for his crime – and instead was given 18 months to prove that he can stay out of trouble.

Punton, of West Princes Street, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to shouting, swearing, acting aggressively and repeatedly sending threatening and abusive texts to the woman on June 8 at an address in Ben Bouie Drive, in the Kirkmichael area of the town.

Prosecutor Martina McGuigan told the court Punton’s behaviour towards his partner had left the woman in a state of fear and alarm.

She said: “On this particular day they had been woken by an alarm at 7.30am. He began arguing after she claimed he had been ignoring her.

“He became more aggressive towards her. She said she would contact the police and he left.

“Five minutes later she began receiving text messages calling her a ‘grass’ and threats that he would send dealers around to come and hit her grandfather.

“When police arrived she was hysterical, crying, sobbing and shaking.

“He was found in the streets shortly after and arrested.”

Defence lawyer Brian McGuire, representing Punton, said the offence happened after his client relapsed into drug use.

Mr McGuire told the court: “He has substantial convictions, but had gone two years without offending since he had been off heroin.

“It was not long before the commission of this offence that he had relapsed.

“She wants the relationship to continue, but only if he stays off drugs.

“He has described himself as an idiot.

“While in custody he has been on methadone, but has had the amount reduced.

“It may have been that this relapse was a blip, and that he has taken a tumble to himself.”

Sheriff William Gallacher said: “I will give you an opportunity. I am far from optimistic, but there is nothing that gives me more pleasure than being proven to be wrong.”

Instead of prison, Punton was put on a community payback order, under which he must carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work within seven months.

He was also put under social workers’ supervision until December 2019 and was ordered to attend for support as and when required by his supervisor.

A review of the order will be held in September.