A FORMER Inverclyde councillor charged with abusive behaviour and criminal damage was threatened with a hammer during the alleged incident, a trial has heard.

Ex-SNP group leader, Chris McEleny - now general secretary of the Alba Party - is facing two charges regarding an alleged disturbance in Greenock.

McEleny, 36, denies shouting, swearing and repeatedly kicking and banging a door at an address on Kelly Street.

His alleged victim told the sheriff court that the former councillor was "definitely drunk" when he turned up at his home in the early hours of the morning and started "banging" on his door.

The man said he felt threatened after McEleny "kicked" his top floor flat door "with force", leaving a footprint mark on it.

He added: "I keep my tools at the front of my flat and I grabbed a hammer then opened the door.

"I just assumed he wasn't going to stop.

"He saw what I had in my hand and he started backing off and I shouted at him to get out of the close.

"I was quite shaken by this so I phoned police."

McEleny is said to have acted aggressively towards the man whilst allegedly making threats to force entry.

He is further charged with maliciously forcing the door and causing damage to its handle during the alleged incident on September 26, 2021.

The householder said McEleny had stated that he could "phone people to come round and put my door in".

The politician left the building but was spotted staring up at the man's flat windows before returning inside later, it is claimed.

The court heard that a neighbour who had heard the commotion at around 2am then came upstairs and escorted McEleny outside.

Defence advocate Joseph Barr, instructed by solicitor Gerry Keenan, put it to the witness that there were discrepancies between his evidence given in court and the statement he gave to police, claiming he was in fact "the aggressor" in the situation and "advanced towards the accused with the hammer".

Mr Barr asked him: "You were posing a threat to the accused, is that true?"

The witness replied: "No, I was defending myself.

"It was more of a deterrent, I would say."

Advocate Barr claimed the man's police statement "does not square up" with his account of events in court.

The trial also heard evidence from the downstairs neighbour, who claimed McEleny had been "aggressive and threatening" but "calmed down" after he was spoken to.

The witness, who told the court he had briefly been an SNP member, denied leaking details of the incident to the press before any court hearings had taken place.

He also said he complained to Inverclyde Council and McEleny, seeking reparation for the alleged damage caused to the door handle on the front of the building, but refuted a suggestion that he was trying to make a "political point" by raising the matter.

The trial is scheduled to continue before Sheriff Morag Fraser in September.