A BIRD watcher who had a knuckleduster in his pants believing he would be confronted by hammer wielding protesters has walked free from court.

Omar Bhatia was also wearing shin guards as well as carrying a bag of leather arm coverings and a balaclava in Glasgow city centre last September.

The 34-year-old told police that he had the items as protesters were carrying “hammers last Friday.”

This was in relation to a mass disturbance in Govan involving an Irish republican march and loyalist demonstrators the week before.

The philosophy graduate, of Govanhill, pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to the unlawful possession of a knuckleduster.

Bhatia was placed under supervision for 12 months by Sheriff Joan Kerr.

He was also put on a tag for three months keeping him indoors between 8pm and 6am.

Sheriff Kerr said: “Your report suggests the type of person you are made out to be.

“You have a degree in art and philosophy, enjoy bird watching and antique collecting.

“The police stopped you due to suspicions on the way you were acting and their instincts turned out to be correct."

She added Bhatti had an "anxiety condition" which was currently being treated.

The court heard there were a large number of police in the city centre due to a recent “significant disturbance” in Govan.

Bhatia was stopped wearing dark clothing, a hooded top and a pair of shin guards on Clyde Street.

Prosecutor Mark Allan said Bhatia also had a plastic bag which contained a balaclava and leather forearm coverings.

Mr Allan added: “He told police of a likelihood of a protest in the area and stated that he heard they came with hammers last Friday.”

Bhatia was arrested and a knuckleduster was found in his underwear.

Clare Ryan, defending, told the court had suffered from “ill judgement” that day.

She added: “He is not related to any of the organisations and it was an attempt to be involved in this in some way.”