A DOPE grower caught with more than £13,000 worth of illegal drugs because he had failed to pay his electricity bill has avoided a jail sentence.

Meter men called the police after being hit by a strong smell of cannabis when they went to take a reading at James Trainor's home.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that officials from Trainor's energy company had obtained a warrant to gain access to his flat in Gordon Drive, Alloa, "because there was an issue with the electricity supply".

Prosecutor Ruaraidh Ferguson said: "As soon as entry was made the police were contacted because there was a strong smell of cannabis coming from the property."

The court heard that police obtained their own warrant and searched the flat.

They found 15 cannabis plants and horticultural equipment in Trainor's bedroom, together with 840 grammes of amphetamine, 17 hundred-gramme bars of cannabis resin, and £4000 worth of herbal cannabis.

Together with the plants, the total value of drugs seized was put at £13,150.

A mobile phone with "messages indicative of drugs supply" was also found.

Mr Ferguson added: "The accused was interviewed and was fairly candid with the police. He admitted he had the plants in his bedroom and said he was watering them for an un-named individual.

"Essentially, he was a gardener. He claimed the other drugs in the property must have belonged to this un-named male."

The discovery was made on August 22 last year.

Trainor, 40, now of Broad Street, Alloa, pleaded guilty in July to producing cannabis and being concerned in the supply of cannabis and amphetamine.

When he appeared for sentence last Tuesday he told the court he "was just working for a guy called Bert".

Sheriff John Mundy placed him under social work supervision for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work.