A drug dealer has been jailed after police uncovered a £43,000 cannabis factory in a Perthshire town centre.
The illicit operation was discovered in an abandoned flat above a pet shop in Crieff’s High Street.
Police forced their way into the property and seized more than 70 cannabis plants, along with lights, tents and power equipment.
And they spotted a tell-tale fingerprint which helped snare 22-year-old dealer Caileon Ward.
He was caught at his home in nearby Leadenflower Road with about £67,000 of class A drug Ecstasy.
Ward was jailed for 20 months at Perth Sheriff Court.
Sheriff William Wood told him: “While I take account of the fact that this is your first conviction under the Misuse of Drugs Act, I cannot ignore your wider record.
“You do need to be deterred from breaking the law.”
Ward pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of Ecstasy between October 21 2020 and February, this year.
He further admitted producing controlled drug Cannabis at the East High Street flat from December 20, 2019, and January 22, 2020.
Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova earlier told the court police had received a tip-off about the cannabis cultivation.
Investigators spoke to the property owner, who explained Flat C had been unoccupied for about 10 years.
He gave permission for police to carry out a search.
Officers found the locks had been changed and had to force entry.
Inside, they discovered a black tent in the kitchen, which Ms Apostolova described as “clearly part of a cannabis cultivation.”
Officers also saw a smaller tent, which had its own power supply and lamps.
“On entering the living room, a large tent – about six feet by 10 feet wide – was found,” she said.
“This contained 17 mature plants, each about two feet tall.”
Fingerprint discovery nailed Ward
The factory had a large ventilation systems which was connected to a chimney.
Officers also found a fourth tent, as well as a single bed, clothing and discarded food containers.
In total, 74 plants were recovered, with a potential street value of between £14,600 and £43,800.
Items seized from the property were sent for forensic analysis, and Ward’s incriminating fingerprint was found on a lamp from a growing area.
Police swooped on Ward’s home in nearby Colville House.
They found MDMA in power, pill and liquid form.
Ms Apostolova saidthe drugs were valued at up to £66,650.
Solicitor David Holmes, representing Ward, said: “Prior to his arrest, he had been working in the construction industry.
“It was work that he was enjoying and his employers were impressed with him.
“At that stage, it looked like he was heading down a different road.”
He said that he had been told to look after the cannabis cultivation and felt threatened to become involved in dealing ecstasy.
Sheriff Wood said to Ward: “It is clear you have had a difficult and troubled upbringing and you don’t have your troubles to seek, but as an adult it is up to you how your life turns out.
“Only a custodial sentence is appropriate here.”