A MAN who owned a Vale shipping container where police netted a haul of cannabis worth up to £14,000 is expected to learn his fate later this week.

Peter Horne will be sentenced at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday after he pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug.

The 37-year-old admitted his guilt at a hearing in January, and was due to have been sentenced last week – but a sheriff asked for more information about Horne's family circumstances before passing sentence.

Last month's hearing was told that a tip-off led police to the container at a commercial premises in North Street on March 8, 2019, and that cops had found numerous bags of cannabis, along with two sets of scales, an iPhone, a roll of polythene bags and a notebook after entering.

DNA from Horne was identified from swabs taken from three of the items found, while his fingerprints were found on one of the bags, which itself contained 16 smaller bags of the class B drug.

At the time of the offence, Horne, of Bencloich Road, Lennoxtown, was the subject of a bail order granted at Glasgow Sheriff Court some six weeks earlier.

At January's hearing, sentence was deferred for four weeks to give a social worker time to prepare a background report – though Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said at the time that the report might only "delay the inevitable".

Horne's solicitor, Martin Hughes, told Sheriff Hendry on February 18: "I don't intend to say anything about the commission of the offence, except that he found himself in a particular position.

"Notwithstanding the offence, your Lordship's comments on the last occasion, and the High Court's observations that those involved in the onward sale and supply of drugs can normally expect a custodial sentence, in my submission an alternative view can be taken.

"His last custodial sentence was in 2008, and he is in full-time employment as a carer – he was self-employed as a mechanic, but he gave that up to care for his family full-time."

Mr Hughes – who had told the previous hearing that his client had a long term drug habit – said Horne did not live with his family, but looked after them during the day before leaving to stay at his father's home overnight.

Sheriff Hendry said: "His claim to be a carer for his family does not sit well with his cannabis use.

"This offence merits prison. Everybody acknowledges that.

"The one thing that might prevent me sending him to prison is the issue of the care of his family, and it does seem they would be potentially seriously and adversely affected by him being sent to custody.

"That should have been at the forefront of his mind before he started committing this offence. But what I don't want to see is the playing of an 'I care for the children' card as a 'get out of jail free' card."

Sheriff Hendry asked Mr Hughes for more information about the family's circumstances, and ordered Horne to come back to court on February 28.

His bail was continued.