A LOCHGELLY man who looked after drugs for money after having his benefits sanctioned has escaped a prison sentence.

Lee Brown, 31, of Main Street, appeared for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Wednesday after previously admitting that on July 28, at High Street, Cowdenbeath, and his home, he had been concerned in the supplying of controlled class B drug cannabis.

Depute Fiscal, Jade Doig, said police had been contacted in relation to another matter which was no longer before the Court.

In Cowdenbeath High Street, they found Brown with a carrier bag which had an "overwhelmingly strong smell" of cannabis coming from it.

The bag had a note book, handwritten notes of names and addresses, some scales, a number of bags containing cannabis and a roll of bags.

Police obtained a search warrant to search his address. When officers attended, there was a tub containing cannabis in the living room and also came across a quantity of freezer bags, snack bags, a couple of tick lists and a number of bags containing cannabis.

Ms Doig said it was estimated that the cannabis recovered had a maximum street value of £1,040.

Defence solicitor, Ian Beatson, said his client was having financial difficulties at the time of the offence.

"His benefits had been sanctioned, he had no income whatsoever," he told the Court. "At that time he was staying in his own tenancy and did not seem to have a support network.

"He was approached by an individual who asked him to become involved in drugs. He was using Mr Brown's house for storing drugs and keeping paraphernalia. In return for that, Mr Brown received a small amount of money from that individual.

"He very much regrets having done so."

Sheriff Derek Reekie said Brown had pleaded guilty to a "serious offence" whatever the circumstances.

"You have accepted you were concerned with the supply of class B drug cannabis," he said. "You have a lengthy record and also have a very poor history of compliance to alternative disposals to custody.

"Despite your history of offending, you have not been involved in drugs before. This is your latest enterprise. The report indicates that you know exactly what you need to do to turn your life around and have taken some steps to do that and I am told you have the intelligence to do that on our own. You are not a stupid man, you know what to do. I am also told you are in employment.

"For those reasons, I am not going to impose a custodial sentence at this stage but I make it absolutely clear to you, this is a direct alternative to custody. If you step out of line, the Court will have no hesitation in giving a custodial sentence."

He placed Brown on a community payback order with the requirement to do 210 hours of unpaid work within nine months. He also put him on a restriction of liberty order for 135 days which requires him to stay in his home between 7pm and 7am.