A DRONGAN man has been cleared of an allegation of “stalking” – after a court was told he was being “preyed upon” by the complainers.

A defence lawyer said he had received a “completely unsolicited” letter, signed by numerous residents, expressing support for 62-year-old John Duff.

Duff appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court last week for a review of a community sentence imposed in connection with separate offences committed in 2021.

But during the hearing, defence solicitor Peter Lockhart revealed that his client had been acquitted of similar charges which went to trial earlier this year.

Duff was found not guilty on March 30 of causing fear and alarm by stalking following a trial before Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart - before which he had been remanded in custody.

He was also acquitted on charges of failing to comply with bail conditions and of breaching non-harassment orders.

Mr Lockhart told Sheriff Anthony McGlennan: “Mr Duff was acquitted at trial relating to offences of a similar nature.

“In the course of that [case] a number of neighbours contacted my firm.”

Mr Lockhart said the contact from neighbours led to evidence being given in court that Duff was a “vulnerable individual being preyed upon”.

He added: “Sheriff MacTaggart was concerned about matters and asked if social work could make contact with the neighbours.”

Sheriff McGlennan allowed the orders imposed in connection with the 2021 offences to continue and told Duff to return for a further review hearing later in the year.

Those 2021 offences saw Duff cause fear and alarm to a man and woman in Coyle Avenue, Drongan on May 5, 2021 by repeatedly staring at the woman and following her and her daughter while shouting, swearing and making abusive remarks.

He stared at the same woman, made aggressive gestures and threatened violence on June 21 and 24 of that year, and later started in a window, shouted and swore and made derogatory remarks while spitting.

Duff later admitted breaching bail conditions by communicating with the neighbours on September 1 and entering Coyle Avenue and behaving threateningly towards them on September 17.

In addition, he admitted breaching a non-harassment order imposed on November 9, 2021 by approaching two neighbours in the village’s Carston Drive.

He is due to appear in court again in July.