A Renfrew family turned to producing and supplying drugs following the collapse of their business.
James Stewart and his sons Connor and Harris each admitted playing their part in a drugs “enterprise” that saw them produce, supply and be in possession of cocaine and cannabis.
During a police raid of their Hallidale Crescent home in October 2020 processed drugs, valued at more than £5,000, were discovered alongside 22 hash plants worth more than £13,000 in their garage, and over £31,000 in cash.
And youngest son Harris was found with 16g of cocaine stashed in his boxer shorts during a strip search.
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Slamming the three Stewarts, Sheriff Lindsay Kooner said: “You brought your whole family into this enterprise, including your mum and sister.”
James Stewart’s defence agent Jim Clarke told Paisley Sheriff Court the incident had been “weighing heavily” upon him and the family.
Mr Clarke explained: “The family flooring business ended in 2019 and the search of the property has impacted his health and he has taken steps to desist the use of cannabis.”
Jerry Sweeney, defence agent for Connor said the “catalyst” for the time-served mechanic was the “collapse of the family business.”
And Kate Philips, solicitor for Harris explained that his “depression deteriorated following the loss of his job.”
Dad James, 50, admitted being involved in the production and supply of Class-B drug cannabis, while son Connor, 29, admitted possession of Class-A drug cocaine and being involved in the supply of cannabis.
Twenty-five-year-old Harris admitted producing and supplying cannabis, as well as possession of cocaine worth £720 – found in his underwear during a police search.
Fiscal depute Jason Stark previously told Paisley Sheriff Court how the Stewart’s home was raided at 7am by cops on October 22, 2020.
Following the search, more than £31,000 in cash was seized along with 22 hash plants with a “maximum potential value” of £13,200, cannabis worth more than £4,500 and cocaine valuing more than £800.
Mr Stark explained: “Police attended at the property and were granted access by Connor Stewart.
“Around 7.10am police officers strip-searched Harris Stewart and found 16g of white powder in his underwear, which later tested positive for cocaine.
“A search of the loft bedroom was carried out and items found included a set of black scales.
“In this room – which was Connor’s – a safe was found and officers observed him enter a four-digit pin. Within it was a plastic wrap containing 8.3g of white powder, which later tested positive for cocaine.
“Within a dressing gown pocket, £1,780 in cash was found. Underneath the bed in a plastic bag was £20,960 in cash.”
The court heard that cops searched the “middle bedroom” of the property, belonging to Harris Stewart, where £320 in cash was found in a drawer.
Mr Stark added: “A plastic box with herbal material weighing 747.5g was discovered which tested positive for cannabis.
“A further gram of herbal material was found in a tub and in a glass jar was 5.2g – a further 136.1g of herbal material was found in a bedroom cupboard.”
Mr Stark told how in the family kitchen, 17 envelopes with cash totalling £8,060 were found by cops.
After the search of the home was complete, cops searched the garage of the property where they discovered a “cannabis cultivation.”
Mr Stark explained: “Twenty-two mature cannabis plants were within the garage, as well as irrigation equipment, heaters, filters and lighting equipment.”
The value of cocaine found within the property weighed 24.3g, with Mr Stark explaining the value to be £820 – the weight of cannabis recovered was 889.8g, with a value of £5380.
The fiscal depute also explained how specialist officers tested the cannabis plants and found them to be in “good healthy condition,” each with a value of £200 to £600.
Mr Stark added: “It’s the view of the officers that the maximum potential value of the plants would be between £4,400 and £13,200.”
Sentencing, Sheriff Lindsay Kooner said: “I’ve listened very carefully to what’s been said on each of your behalves and I’m quite sure it is striking you that there are many families who have been impacted by the loss of employment, and that heightened by the pandemic and lockdown, but not everyone has turned to criminal activity.
“I am more than satisfied the custody threshold has been met here but I will take into consideration what has been said and I am willing to take a step back from custody and impose a direct alternative.”
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James Stewart was ordered to carry out 270 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for 18 months.
Connor Stewart was fined £625, ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for 15 months.
Harris Stewart was fined £805, ordered to complete 270 hours unpaid work and placed under supervision for 18 months.
Both James and Harris Stewart were ordered to wear a tag for 163 days, keeping them within their home address between 7pm and 7am.
Connor Stewart was ordered to wear a tag for 135 days keeping him within the family home between 7pm and 7am each day.
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