An engineer discovered more than he bargained for when a routine boiler check saw him stumble across a cannabis farm.
Stevie Bairstow had been secretly growing illicit plants in his flat in Perth’s St Catherine’s Road for some time.
His illegal enterprise collapsed when the engineer was allowed entry by a landlord to carry out a service on the property’s boiler.
They had to force their way in and discovered the illegal drug cultivation and called police.
Depute Fiscal Michael Sweeney said they had found a fan heater in the hallway and 15 cannabis plants, in varying stages of maturity, concealed within a cupboard.
They also seized a number of items they believed were being used in the production of drugs, including a lamp, digital thermometer and plant feeding equipment.
Officers were still in the property when Bairstow returned, apparently oblivious to the fact that his cannabis plants had been discovered.
They carried out a search of the van the 36-year-old had parked outside and discovered seven bags of “herbal material” contained within a plastic holdall stashed in the vehicle.
Mr Sweeney said the total weight of drugs found had amounted to 300 grammes, worth an estimated £1,500 if broken down into “street deal” sized packages.
Experts estimated the potential value of cannabis that could have been gleaned from the plants was a further £1,500.
Bairstow, of St Catherine’s Road in Perth, admitted being concerned in the production of a controlled drug at his home on June 12 last year by cultivating and growing cannabis plants.
He also admitted being concerned in the supply of the class B drug.
Solicitor John McLaughlin said he would address the court on behalf of his client when the case recalled for sentencing on February 21.
Bairstow was warned he could be jailed. His criminal record includes previous convictions for assault, malicious damage and breach of the peace.
Sheriff William Wood told him: “I will have to give very serious thought to the quantity of cannabis involved in this case.
“Custody is certainly something that I am going to consider.”
The sheriff called for a report from social workers prior to making his judgement.