A BALLOCH man claimed he turned to selling drugs because he was a good father who wanted to give his children a good Christmas, a court has heard.

Gary Murdoch produced a bag full of white tablets from under his pillow when police burst into his then home in Davidson Road in Haldane - and then told cops he had “speed in his freezer” too.

Murdoch, 42, now of Brook Avenue, Haldane, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday, September 6, after pleading guilty at a hearing in May to being concerned in the supply of amphetamine and Clonazolam at the Davidson Road property on December 22, 2017.

Fiscal depute Sean Maher told the court: “A search was carried out at the property; on entering the first bedroom police observed a male and female - the accused and a witness - and told the accused to get dressed.

“The accused produced bags with white tablets from under his pillow, and stated without prompting that they were all his, as was a quantity of blue tablets in a metal tin.

“He was cautioned and said there was also an amount of ‘speed’ in his freezer.”

Murdoch was detained and taken to Clydebank police station later that day, where, Mr Maher said, “the accused took full ownership of the drugs recovered and stated that his intention had been to supply them to others.”

Mr Maher said the 776 Clonazolam tablets found had an estimated value of between £338 and £776, while the white powder found in the freezer weighed just over 18 grams and had a value of £80-£100.

Defence lawyer Stephen McGuire said a social work report on Murdoch failed to mention that he had been convicted in January of an assault which took place in July 2018, and that Murdoch had completed all the unpaid hours of work imposed as a punishment for that offence.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “I struggle to understand one sentence in the [social work] report: he tells the author he views himself as a good father, yet the drugs were found in a scarcely concealed location - and his rationale was that he wanted his children to have a good Christmas.”

Mr McGuire responded: “He doesn’t avoid responsibility for the decisions he took.

“His behaviour since then may explain to a degree why he believes himself to be a good father - he has taken commendable steps to turn things around and now takes no drugs beyond those prescribed by a GP.

“He has put this unfortunate offence very much behind him, but he recognises the potential risk he put his children in.”

Sheriff Hendry told Murdoch: “I don’t want you to be under any illusion whatsoever: being concerned in the supply of drugs is a serious, serious matter.

“You are a cog in a machine which supplies drugs that are a blight on our community.

“If you commit this type of offence again, I think you will be sent to prison.”

Murdoch was placed on a community payback order with 18 months of social work supervision.

He was also ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work within the next six months or he could find himself back in the dock once again.