A 20-year-old Carluke man who acted as a drugs ‘quartermaster’ for his circle of friends appeared for sentence at Lanark Sheriff Court on Thursday.
Having pleaded guilty on the day of his trial last month to possession of cocaine with intent to supply it to others, Scott McDonald, the court was told by his solicitor, was not a drug dealer but had bought the Class A drug for “social” supply to his circle of peers.
His activities had come to light when police officers searched his home at 2 Gowanside Place, Carluke, on June 15 last year.
In his bedroom officers had found ‘wraps’ - i.e. individual portions - of cocaine with a total street value of £1,200.
This figure’s accuracy was challenged by the defence solicitor who claimed that McDonald had only spent £400 for the cache, a ‘bulk’ buy made on behalf of friends.
Sentence had been deferred from December 23 to Thursday after the court was told that McDonald could have a difficulty following court community work and home curfew orders as alternatives to a jail sentence due to the nature of his work, an apprentice electrician with a company involved in utility repairs throughout the country.
At that previous hearing two co-accused from Carluke, both too young to be named in the Gazette. had been given non-custodial sentences for selling ecstasy tablets to younger children. During McDonald’s delayed sentencing appearance last week, his defence solicitor told Sheriff Nikola Stewart that she had spoken to her client’s boss and had been told that his work pattern was “very fluid”, regularly taking him away from Carluke to work on contracts.
McDonald’s immediate work commitments would take him from Ballater to Dumfries to Sunderland, meaning he would be living during the week in lodgings, only returning to Carluke on weekends.
Sheriff Stewart said McDonald had “crossed a line where a custodial sentence would be warranted” but she would still try to find a non-custodial sentence for the first-offender, commenting: “He has to be punished. People go to jail for having Class A drugs. If he thinks it is a good idea to supply cocaine to his pals, I don’t want him going about Carluke at night so an evening Restriction of Liberty Order would be a very suitable sentence in these circumstances.”
After an adjournmnt to obtain further information on McDonald’s work routines, Sheriff Stewart said that she had found a way of passing a sentence that didn’t require McDonald serving a jail sentence and so losing his apprenticeship.
She placed McDonald on a one-year Payback Order in which he would carry out 180 hours of unpaid work for rhe community at weekends and would be confined to his home during weekend nights.