A 13-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl was approached by a 34-year-old man in a Dunfermline park and asked if she wanted to go out on a date with him.

Brian Brand told the girl she looked “mature”, that “age doesn’t matter” and invited the girl to go back to his home.

Instead, the frightened girl ran away and Brand was arrested.

However, he has now been released on bail after a sheriff decided the incident could not be classed a sexual offence.

Brand, of Memorial Road, Methil, appeared from custody at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

He previously admitted that on September 21, at an address in Dunfermline, he conducted himself in a disorderly manner, approached a girl aged 13, made indecent comments and suggestions to her, causing fear and alarm, and committed a breach of the peace.

Depute fiscal Laura McManus said the girl was with three friends at a park at around 7pm when they were approached by Brand.

He asked the girl what age she was.

When she told him she was 13, Brand said: “Age doesn’t matter.”

“He then told her she looked mature for her age and that she should go back to his place and go on a date with him,” added the depute.

Her friends said: “She’s underage”.

The court was told Brand said: “Come on, come on.”

The girls then ran off to a nearby shop and told a worker there what had happened.

When police tracked down Brand in Halbeath Road, he claimed the girls had asked him to buy alcohol for them.

Defence solicitor James Moncrieff had told the court his client had taken street valium and his recollection of events was “hazy to say the least”.

Sheriff Alastair Brown said Brand’s behaviour had been “entirely inappropriate” and that the girl was “bound to be distressed”. However, he did not think his comments could be classed as “indecent”.

He also ruled that it was not a sexual offence. The sheriff deferred sentence until December 15 for Brand to be assessed for a drug treatment and testing order and he was released on bail.

The court was told Brand would be moving back to live with family in Dunfermline.