AN INVERKEITHING man who turned a flat into a cannabis farm has been jailed.

Liam Burnett, 31, of Hillfield Road, grew drugs valued between £12,000 and £15,000 at the property as part of efforts to pay off a drug debt.

Appearing for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday (Wednesday), he had previously admitted that between October 2, 2017, and January 2, 2018, at Struan Drive, he produced class B drug cannabis.

A previous court hearing heard that a Scottish Power worker had gone to the property and detected a strong smell of cannabis. 

Police were contacted and found the whole flat had been converted into a cannabis plantation with a total of 55 plants discovered.

Defence solicitor Chris Sneddon said his client had significant mental health problems and suffered from anxiety and depression.

"He accepts he has made very poor decisions," he told the court. "He has had an opportunity to reflect on that and is quite clear that his anxiety and depression have not helped in making the correct decisions. He substituted drug-taking for gambling and that led him to get into debt.

"He clearly recognises the seriousness of matters and is aware of the view the courts take of this offending. He has taken responsibility and he also recognises that if he had his chance again, he would take a different decision."

Sheriff Charles Macnair said Burnett's drug enterprise was of a "very significant" scale.

"You had effectively the whole house as a cannabis plantation and you modified the house to deal with that," he said.

"The value of the cultivation – which was a snapshot on the date of the search – was very significant, between £12,000 and £15,000. This was very much a commercial-scale operation and you were fully conscious of the scale of the exercise. 

"I take into account your lack of previous record and I take into account that you were not the prime mover behind this, that you were effectively working to pay off a drug debt but that, of course, is still commercial activity on your part.

"Having regard to the circumstances of the operation and the length of the period on libel which is a significant period, I have reached the conclusion that there is no alternative but custody. People must realise that growing cannabis on this scale will be treated with utmost seriousness by the court."

He jailed Burnett for nine months.