Police forced entry to a house looking for a dead body after neighbours complained about a swarm of flies inside, a court heard.
Instead of a corpse, officers found a large stash of herbal cannabis, most of it vacuum packed in clear plastic bags.
The discovery led to Fife man Tomasso Palumbo, 53, being charged with being concerned in the supply of an estimated £100,000 worth of the drug.
Palumbo, of Craig Myle Street, Dunfermline, denies committing the offence at addresses in Bathgate and Broxburn and at a house in Kirkliston, near Edinburgh between July 16 and November 22, 2018.
Cannabis found during search
Police constable Kathryn Howie, 31, said the flies were concentrated in the living room when she entered the property in Bathgate but there was no smell of a dead body.
She opened the doors of a fitted wardrobe in the bedroom to see if anyone was hidden inside and found two large laundry-type bags containing ten clear, vacuum-packed bags of cannabis.
Another similar bag was on a shelf in the wardrobe and more of the drug was in a bowl, in a large plastic box and lying loose on a shelf beside some digital scales.
“There was quite a large quantity,” she told a jury at the High Court in Livingston.
Detective constable Jordan Rintoul told how he got a lift in a minibus to chase the accused in Kirkliston after he ran away when police with warrants arrived at his property there.
He said: “I saw Mr Palumbo 200 yards away.
“He was running away from the area where we had originally been so I went after him.”
Asked how he did that, the officer said: “A bus, believe it or not.
“A minibus who seen me running and stopped and said, ‘Do you want a lift up the road?’
“We went a short distance up the road.
“By that point Mr Palumbo was walking, slightly tired.
“I alighted from the minibus and approached him. He was out of breath.
“I stopped Mr Palumbo, identified myself as a police officer and told him why I was there.”
He said a search of the house in Kirkliston’s Maitland Hog Lane and of Palumbo’s Range Rover turned up some moneygram receipts and a small quantity of cannabis.
Offer to fix door
Landlord Michael Kean, 25, told how Palumbo and two other Italian men turned up to rent his one-bedroom flat in Irvine Crescent, Bathgate, for the accused’s son Eduardo.
Just over a month after the lease was signed he learned there had been a “problem” at the property involving police and his tenant’s father.
He said: “He (Palumbo) offered to pay for the cost of damage to the door to put that right, which I appreciated.
“He advised he was unaware of what happened.
“He said there was a lot of flies that wasn’t explained in the property.”
The trial, before Lord Sanderson, continues.