A county lines dealer took the opportunity to try and hide £30,000 worth of drugs when he overheard police raiding the wrong flat.
Undercover officers had been carrying out surveillance on the property before storming the flat for an early morning raid to hunt for drugs.
As it quickly became apparent they had raided the home of an innocent neighbour, Shohaib Khan heard the commotion and tried to cover his tracks.
However, he was unable to escape because officers had set up a point outside the property and raided his flat when they realised their mistake.
They found several bags containing cannabis, worth £31,360 and a number of mobile phones containing images of the gang’s price list for packages of the drug.
Perth Sheriff Court was told former Asos worker Khan, from Oldham, had been sent north as a county lines dealer to flood Perthshire with cannabis.
He had only been released from prison for a cocaine dealing charge a few months before he was arrested in Coupar Angus on August 4.
The 21-year-old admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis and was remanded in custody while sentence was deferred for reports.
Wrong property raided
Fiscal depute Marie Irvine told the court: “Over a few weeks police received intelligence that controlled drugs were being dealt from Flat 3, Assembly Rooms, George Street, Coupar Angus.
“A search warrant was granted.
“On entering the property at 9.30am it was immediately apparent that no drug dealing activity was ongoing.
“The group were actually operating from Flat 4.
“They could hear persons moving around in Flat 4 as if they were trying to hide or dispose of items.
“Given the possibility evidence was being disposed of, a point was placed on the address to prevent any destruction of evidence.
“A set of keys were obtained and officers entered the property and traced the accused within.
“Police then carried out a systematic search of the property.
“Images on an iPhone showed a quantity and price list.”
Criminal gang ‘had a hold’ over accused
Several half kilo bags were found under the kitchen sink and the total potential value of the 3.1 kilos of cannabis recovered was £31,360.
Solicitor David Sinclair, defending, said: “His previous conviction had some bearing on why he found himself in Scotland, in a flat in Coupar Angus.
“In 2019 he was sentenced for possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
“He was released on licence in February 2020.
“The criminal gang had a hold over him as he attempted to repay his debt and they exerted pressure.
“He was to be the minder of the drugs up here.
“He was aware his family would be at risk if he did not follow through with their request to travel to Scotland and mind the drugs.
“He was the person in the flat when the search warrant was executed.
“He had knowledge of the packages that were recovered and had control over them.
“He tells of panic when he heard the police officers next door and knowing the likely outcome for him, given that he had touched the packages.
“He panicked when he heard the police.”
Mr Sinclair said Khan had previously worked for clothing firm Asos, but had found it “onerous” working shifts and was attracted by the “lifestyle” of a drug dealer.
Sheriff Linda Smith told Khan she had “some sympathy” with his role in the gang but jailed him for 12 months.