The Prime Minister has vowed to support the deportation of a thug who raped a 14-year-old girl while she was out shopping for sweets in Barrhead as a leading victim support charity calls for tougher sentencing.

Samuel Ciornei, 20, was jailed for nine years for the horrifying crime after forcing his young victim into bushes before carrying out the “harrowing” attack in Main Street on August 7, 2016.

Romanian Ciornei had only been in the UK for three weeks when he pounced on his terrified victim and subjected her to the sickening ordeal which lasted seven minutes.

Passing sentence on November 10 at the High Court in Glasgow, Judge Kenneth Maciver told Ciornei: “This was a disgusting and disgraceful sexual assault on an entirely innocent and unsuspecting 14-year-old girl who was out cycling on a quiet summer’s evening last year.

“This appalling attack also has a sinister edge to it. I am clear on the available evidence this was no chance encounter. It was planned and premeditated.”

Christine Miller, Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire team manager, said she believes a longer sentence would have been more appropriate considering the victim’s age.

She told the Barrhead News: “Rape is a horrific crime and I think that the young girl’s courage and bravery in coming forward has to be commended.

“A custodial sentence is a positive, but obviously you would be hoping that it would be longer given that it involved a young girl and was committed in broad daylight.

“It is really important for everybody working in rape and domestic abuse agencies to continue to work to try and eliminate such violent crimes.”

Ciornei watched the schoolgirl as she cycled to the town’s Asda store.

While she was inside, he deflated her tyre then followed her as she pushed her bike and appeared to offer to help carry out repairs.

Seconds later, he held a piece of broken glass to her throat and dragged her into bushes behind the Iceland store in Main Street.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, the council’s education spokesman, who lives in nearby Neilston, said the community has been left shocked and scared by the events.

He added: “I think as the details of the case emerged it became clear that this was harrowing. It was awful.

“We have not had a serious assault of this nature in Barrhead. People are now asking what does this mean for the area but are glad that justice has been done.

“I think it just highlights that people can look out for each other a wee bit more.

“This young girl has to live with this experience and that is a terrible thing.

“So if people do see something they are not sure about then it is really important to let the police know. We don’t want anything like this happening again.”

East Renfrewshire’s MP Paul Masterton raised the issue in Westminster at last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

Masterton sought assurances from Theresa May on what action the UK Government is taking to stop dangerous individuals entering into the country and a reassurance that Brexit would not weaken or undermine security cooperation with partners in the European Union.

In response, the PM pledged that her Government would be seeking to have Ciornei deported.

Masterton told the Barrhead News: “I welcome the Prime Minister's assurance that the Home Office will be pursuing deportation action against Samuel Ciornei - it should not be for Barrhead taxpayers to pay for his bed and board in Barlinnie then HMP Shotts.

"This follows my meeting with the Home Secretary where I raised my concerns on behalf of residents in Barrhead, who remain hugely angry about this disgusting attack on their community.

"The broader commitment to ensuring Brexit strengthens rather than weakens our security cooperation with our European neighbours can only be welcomed as negotiations continue apace."

Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Patrick, who led the investigation, said: “Samuel Ciornei is a dangerous individual and we welcome the result from court. I would like to take this opportunity to assure anyone who may have been a victim of any sexual crime that Police Scotland will take any reports of such crime extremely seriously. We can provide you with the support you require.”