A HELENSBURGH teenager terrified the residents of a house in the town when he battered on their front door while armed with a hammer and an axe.

The 16-year-old wielded the weapons at a property in the Kirkmichael area in May.

It emerged in court that the teenager – who can’t be named because of his age – committed the latest offence just weeks after being seen brandishing a sword while drunk and high on Valium in nearby Kirkmichael Road.

And even though he failed to comply with a community payback order [CPO] imposed for that offence, the teenager was again spared prison this week – after his lawyer argued that even a short jail sentence could have an adverse effect on the youngster for years to come.

READ MORE: Teenage boy had sword in Helensburgh street, court told

The teen appeared from custody at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday after pleading guilty to behaving in a manner likely to cause fear and alarm by going to the property in Williamson Drive on May 20 armed with the hammer and axe and repeatedly striking the front door in a bid to gain entry to the property.

And in a further revelation in court, it was disclosed that the teen was awaiting sentence at Glasgow Sheriff Court on another weapons case – this time two counts of being in possession of bladed or sharply pointed articles – and was awaiting trial, again in Glasgow, on a separate allegation of assault.

The teenager was brought to the dock in handcuffs after admitting a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour at an earlier hearing, when social workers were asked to prepare a background report.

READ MORE: Police arrest man carrying axe in Helensburgh street

Defence solicitor Billy Lavelle told the court: "Quite clearly he has breached his community payback order. I have to accept he didn’t particularly engage in that.

“He has been remanded in Polmont [the national young offenders’ institution] for some time, and it has not been a pleasant experience – though of course it is not meant to be.

“The outcome of meeting people within the custodial setting of Polmont is not usually favourable. There are offenders aged up to 20-21 there who are hardened criminals, even at that relatively young age.

“My submission is that a custodial setting may put an imprint on my client’s life that continues to have an effect long after his youth and well into his adult life.”

Mr Lavelle suggested that his client could be made the subject of a ‘restriction of liberty order’ confining him to his home address at night, when all the offences were committed.

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Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “I’ve given that consideration, but these are the types of offences that can be committed at any time.

“And they’re all the more likely if they’ve been committed by a 16-year-old who has been drinking for two years and who has been using Valium as often as he can get it.

“He is barely an adult and he’s already acquiring a list of convictions that would make many grown men ashamed.

“What can I possibly do except keep this young man locked up for a longer period?”

Mr Lavelle insisted that a curfew would “not be an easy option” for his client and added: “If he breaches it then that argument is really at the end of the line.”

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Sheriff Hendry told the teenager: “At the age of 16 you are already in a situation where judges’ minds are turning to the only available option being prison.

“If that is what you want, you don’t need to do anything different at all – you only have to continue behaving in the way you have been, and I can guarantee you that will lead to further offending – and I can more or less guarantee you that will lead to lengthy periods in prison.

“You still have an opportunity to stop, think, and decide you don’t want to live your life like that, and to make changes.

"You’ve already had a chance, and it looks as if you’ve blown it. But I’m giving you a second chance today, whether or not you deserve it.

“The maximum prison sentence available to me is 18 months. I’m not forgetting the possibility that the community-based disposal I am about to impose may not be a success; if you breach it, a prison sentence, I think, becomes absolutely inevitable.”

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The teenager was handed a new community payback order under which he will be supervised by social workers for two years, and will have to attend any form of alcohol or drug counselling specified by his supervisor.

He will also have to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work within nine months.

In addition he was handed a restriction of liberty order which will confine him to his mother’s home in Helensburgh every night from 7pm to 7am until the end of March next year.

Sheriff Hendry told the teen that failing to comply with any element of the order would result in it being breached and revoked, and warned: “If the order is breached and revoked, I do not see any other option open to me than sending you to prison.”