A PRE-OPERATIVE male-to-female transsexual is to serve a prison sentence in Scotland's only all-women prison.

Katelyn Findlay, who was born Stuart Kelly, is being held at Cornton Vale prison near Stirling after admitting robbing a man and threatening police officers.

Findlay, 18, was sent to the women-only jail because she has been actively living as a female but has not yet officially started the sex-change process.

The teenager, of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, was born male but has been dressing as a woman for at least two years and is hoping to undergo surgery.

She was sentenced to six months in prison at Airdrie Sheriff Court after already having spent a month at the prison on remand.

Her solicitor Robin White told the court she had experienced a difficult time in the jail because she was a transsexual and was desperate not to return there.

He said: "This is her first time in custody and it's an experience which has not been particularly good for her.

"She has had a very difficult time in Cornton Vale given her present circumstances and it's not a situation she wants to find herself in again.

"Her lifestyle has been extremely chaotic and she has suffered difficulties in her social life.

"She does not want to go back to Cornton Vale."

However, Sheriff Dickson said there was no alternative to custody as Findlay had been an "active participant" in a robbery.

She admitted robbing David Aitken of house keys and a mobile phone sim card at an address in Airdrie on April 12.

She also admitted resisting arrest and shouting, swearing, spitting at and violently struggling with three police constables on the same date.

A prison source said: "She is being held at Cornton Vale because she insists she is a woman. However, she is actually still a man and it has caused quite a stir. Staff are having to refer to her as Katelyn and she is being recognised as a female."

Findlay's Facebook page is littered with suggestive comments from men and she refers to herself as a single female.

She has uploaded more than 300 pictures of herself posing as a woman and posted that she "needed a boyfriend".

Colin MacFarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, who campaign for transgender equality, said: "We would expect Cornton Vale prison to act very sensitively with this issue. A person who is transsexual does not need to have any surgery to obtain a gender recognition certificate and be recognised legally in their acquired gender."

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said: "We cannot comment on individual inmates. The Scottish Prison Service has established policies in place for such occasions."