A MUSSELBURGH man who had sex with two underage girls has escaped a custodial sentence.

Declan Alexander, 22, stood trial on indictment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last year accused of a series of sexual offences against children, along with a drug possession charge.

Alexander had denied the five allegations, which included engaging in sexual activity with two 14-year-old girls at addresses in the town and in Edinburgh.

Following three days of evidence in front of a jury, Alexander, of Bellfield Court, was found guilty on two charges by a majority decision.

Alexander was found guilty of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl at two addresses in Edinburgh on various occasions between February 1 and March 31 last year.

He was also found guilty of a similar offence against a second 14-year-old girl at an address in Musselburgh between March 1, 2017, and September 30 last year.

A not guilty verdict was returned on a charge of sexually assaulting one of the girls by kissing and sucking her neck while she was asleep at an address in Edinburgh between February 1 and March 30 last year.

Alexander was also acquitted of allegations of possessing cannabis on various occasions between February 1 and March 30 last year, and to repeatedly kicking and striking a door and uttering threats of violence at an address in Musselburgh on October 30 last year.

Sentence was deferred to last week and Alexander returned to the dock, where Sheriff Alistair Noble told him he had been found guilty of “two serious sexual offences”.

But the sheriff added the sexual contact between Alexander and the two teenage girls had been “consensual” and that they had been in “boyfriend/girlfriend situations” at the time.

Sheriff Noble said he believed it would be going “too far to impose custody” on Alexander and instead he placed him on supervision for three years and on the sex offenders’ register for the same period of time.