A CLACKS MAN who had a secret drug preparation lab in an illegal loft conversion at his house has been jailed for 15 months.

Derek Johnstone, an engineer, is thought to have supplied at least £32,000 worth of drugs to users from his semi-detached home.

Falkirk Sheriff Court was told that police, acting on intelligence, raided the property on Hervey Street, Alloa.

Johnstone was at home and the house was searched and officers seized "various containers" containing white powder and tablets, two sets of scales contaminated by cocaine, snap bags, "tick lists" detailing people who owed Johnstone money, and £4,400 in cash.

Mrs Alex Kirk, prosecuting, said: "The items were recovered in an unauthorised loft conversion which appeared to be a drug preparation area."

Some drugs were also found in the kitchen and the main bedroom.

Nearly 15 grammes of cocaine, 244 grammes of the Class B hallucinogenic ketamine, and 5679 tablets of the class C controlled drug Diclazepam were found.

A mobile phone found at the flat was found to contain "a significant number of messages" relative to the supply of controlled drugs.

One message made reference to "a total of £32,180 on the street".

Mrs Kirk said this message was "of particular significance".

She continued: "Police believe the accused had this monetary debt outstanding from people he had previously supplied drugs to."

The total value of the drugs found was nearly £8,500.

A laptop seized from the property was also found to contain records of drug deals.

Johnstone, 41, was arrested and taken to Falkirk Police Station where he denied knowledge of the drugs, but his DNA and fingerprints were found on several of the packets, containers and paraphernalia.

Johnstone, a father of four, now of Achray Court, Alloa, appeared for sentence at Falkirk Sheriff Court, on Wednesday, March 31, after previously pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine, ketamine and the class C controlled drug Diclazepam at his former address in Hervey Street, Alloa, between June 13 and 18 of 2019.

Mary-Ellen Scobbie, defending, said: "He had gone off the rails."

Imposing the 15-month jail term, Sheriff Derek Hamilton said: "I cannot ignore the seriousness of this matter."