DANGEROUS thugs tried to sneak a staggering 438 deadly blades – including an axe – into Paisley Sheriff Court last year, new figures have revealed.
The damning statistics uncovered by the Express found that more knives were confiscated at the entrance of the St James Street building than at any other court in the country during 2012.
One brazen yob even attempted to sneak an axe past security – the only report of such a weapon being found in a Scottish court.
The figures – which show Paisley’s stats against High Courts in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as Sheriff Courts in Dundee, Aberdeen and Hamilton – were a stark reminder of the dangerous job security staff have each day disarming potentially violent neds before they enter courtrooms.
The shock revelations – obtained following a Freedom of Information request – showed that with the help of a metal detector, security staff confiscated 438 blades and lock knives, 69 syringes, 54 chains, 35 Stanley blades, 29 screwdrivers, four hammers and an axe.
More than 300 court visitors had alcohol taken from them while 337 were found in possession of methadone.
Paisley MSP George Adam admitted he was shocked by the stats and called for tough punishment for anyone caught carrying a weapon.
He said: “I can’t believe that someone could go into any court with an offensive weapon or drugs.
“It is shocking that anyone could find that acceptable behaviour.
“The only silver lining from these figures is that these individuals are being caught and with sentences for carrying a knife the highest for a decade they will be suitably punished.
“The ‘No Knives, Better Lives’ campaign in Renfrewshire saw a drop in carrying knives by 29 per cent between April 2010 and June 2011.
“The official police figures for Paisley’s division has also seen a drop of 30 per cent in knife crime since 2006, so the news that these individuals are actually taking weapons to court is shocking.
“They deserve to be exposed to the full weight of the law.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Courts Service confirmed that anyone found in possession with a weapon would immediately be reported to police within Paisley Sheriff Court.
She added: “Courts sit within public buildings and the Scottish Courts Service takes the safety of all court users very seriously.
“The Scottish Court Service works closely with partners, including the police, to take all reasonable precautions against weapons being introduced in to court buildings.
“The discovery of any weapon, or potential weapon by staff is immediately reported to police, who have a presence and responsibility for public order in all court buildings, and successful prosecutions have resulted from the Scottish Court Service’s security arrangements.”
A spokesman for private firm Advance Security – who are responsible for security at the court building – said they were unable comment yesterday.