AN ALLOA man caught with over one thousand illegal pills and a large quantity of cash has managed to avoid being sent to prison.

John Baird, 36, was sentenced for possession of a class C drug at Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday, May 30.

Depute fiscal Ann Orr said the drugs were discovered by police as they executed a search warrant at Baird’s home address on April 6 last year.

The items officers recovered included two tubs: one containing 26 tablets, and another containing 1012 tablets.

The value of the pills, which were subsequently confirmed as etizolam, was approximately £1038.

Ms Orr said: “In interview with police the accused confirmed they were his tablets, and referred to them as Valium.

“He indicated he had bought two tubs for £375 each, and had purchased them for his own use, thinking he was basically getting a bargain at that price.”

A quantities of cash totalling over £1,000 was also recovered and seized from Baird’s property during the search.

Kelly Howe, defending, told the court her client has been struggling with drug and health problems for some time.

She said: “He’s an individual who has had an addiction to heroin, and is currently on methadone.

“He has significant health issues, and was diagnosed with early stage kidney failure in 2014.”

Despite being put on a 12-month waiting list to receive a kidney transplant, Ms Howe said Baird was removed from said list because of his heroin use.

He had been using the pills in question to “maintain stability”, with the ultimate aiming of staying off heroin and being put back on the waiting list.

Sheriff Simon Collins QC pointed out that Baird has previously committed similar offences, and said: “Some punishment is necessary.”

He then said: “Given your record of offending, you know that when you come before the court I have to consider the possibility of custody.

“In this case, I’m not going to send you to custody because of all the circumstances.”

He then gave Baird, of Hutton Park, 90 hours of unpaid work and also required him to undergo supervision.