A boozed-up bus driver who took primary school pupils home while more than three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit has been spared a jail term.

Stephen McColgan had just finished dropping off pupils from Bridge of Weir Primary when he was stopped by police.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard he had 72 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The limit is 22mg.

McColgan, who admitted drink-driving, was given a Community Payback Order, told to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for three years.

Sheriff Robert Fife imposed the order after hearing that McColgan, who has been sacked from his position with bus firm Gibson Direct as a result of the incident, was a first offender who was now receiving treatment for his alcohol problem.

But he warned the 52-year-old that he could could still be jailed if he breached the terms of the order.

Sheriff Fife described the incident as "very serious" and told McColgan he had "put young lives at risk."

He added: "I expect a positive [progress] report every time you come to court, otherwise I'll just revoke the [Community Payback] Order and send you to prison."

McColgan had picked up the children in Bridge of Weir at about 3pm on September 9 last year, dropping them off along his route before being stopped by police in Prieston Road a short time later.

After testing positive for alcohol, McColgan was held in police custody for three nights and later pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Sentence had been deferred, with McColgan returning to court on Wednesday morning to learn his fate.

Following the incident in September, Bridge of Weir Primary School headteacher Carol Vallance wrote to parents, saying that she had contacted police after concerns about the driver were raised.

The letter said: "At the time, it was brought to my attention that the bus driver may have been drinking.

"I immediately reported my concerns to the bus company and our community police officer, who contacted traffic police."