A DRUG dealer caught supplying bags of cannabis in Prestwick with an estimated street value of almost £70,000 has been spared jail.

Kieran Howie was caught when cops raided his home in McNeil Avenue.

The 33-year-old first offender appeared for sentencing at Ayr Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of the class B drug.

Police had been monitoring Howie’s home address before carrying out the raid on June 17, 2022.

The procurator fiscal depute said: “Police received intelligence regarding a quantity of illegal drugs.  

“Police witnesses took observations of the property in anticipation for a warrant.  

“The accused was observed possessing a large cardboard box. Due to the urgency, they entered, identifying themselves as police officers.   

“Officers searched the property at 10.28pm, in possession of a warrant, while the accused was present.  

“At 10.40pm, in a living room cabinet, police recovered a bag of 17.9g of cannabis. 

“Police recovered three vacuum bags of herbal cannabis weighing 1kg, valued at £3,800 each. 

“The total amount, sub-divided to two gram deals, would have a potential value of £69,540.”

When Howie returned to court for sentencing, defence solicitor Robert Logan told Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart: “Following a break up in his relationship he lost the ability to make sense.

“He is well aware the first thing in the court's mind is custody.

“He has engaged with mental health services and realises that if you step back [from a prison sentence], it will be by the finest of margins.

Suggesting social work supervision on a community payback order, Mr Logan added: "He could do unpaid work.”

Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart said: “I’ll put it down to naivety. Anyone involved in supplying drugs faces a custodial sentence.

"There are mitigating circumstances in having no previous convictions."

Howie was placed on a two-year community payback order, with social work supervision, and was ordered to complete 220 hours of unpaid work.

A further ‘proceeds of crime’ hearing was set for the new year.