A man who was caught taking a safe containing heroin worth £270,000 from a house was jailed for three years today.
Detectives detained Darren Heeps (29) after they turned up for a drugs raid at the address and saw him leave with a black rucksack and lock the door behind him.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard Heeps indicated he had received a phone call from the girlfriend of a man who had earlier been detained by police after they stopped his car and noticed a smell of cannabis coming from the driver.
Heeps had turned up at the house in Church Place, Falkirk to remove the rucksack from the property.
Advocate depute Rosemary Guinnane said a locked metal safe was found inside the rucksack and when it was forced open a large quantity of drugs was discovered.
An expert drugs officer said the amount of heroin found had the potential to realise a maximum of £270,000 if broken down into street deals.
A key recovered from Heeps car was found to be a match for the safe which had contained 2.7 kilos of the Class A drug.
A judge told Heeps it appeared he was acting for someone else by moving the safe from the house which was about to be searched.
At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lady Carmichael said: “I take into account the fact you are genuinely remorseful.”
The judge told Heeps she would reduce his sentence from a four-and-a-half year prison term to three years following his early guilty plea.
Following Heeps’ detention more than £10,000 in cash was found during a subsequent search of his home in Beech Crescent, Dunipace.
Heeps earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin between November 25 and December 12 last year.
Defence counsel Niall McCluskey said although Heeps had offended before he had “a relatively minor record” with no similar crimes.
He added: “He has also not had a custodial sentence before.”
Mr McCluskey said Heeps had “struggled” in prison following his earlier remand after he pled guilty to the drugs offence.
“He does have an awareness about the negative effect that drugs have on society as a whole. He acknowledges his actions were very stupid,” he said.
Responding to the sentence heaped upon Heeps today, Detective Sergeant Stuart Broadie, from Forth Valley’s Proactive CID, said: “Darren Heeps was found in possession of a significant quantity of heroin and cash, which demonstrated his involvement in the supply of drugs within Falkirk and the surrounding area.
“Thanks to vital intelligence from the local community we were able to carry out enforcement activity and ensure that heroin destined for distribution on our streets was seized before it could do untold harm.
“Tackling drug crime remains one of our top priorities within Forth Valley and whenever we receive information relating to ongoing offences of this nature, we will respond with all the appropriate resources to bring those responsible to justice.
“If you would like to report drug crime in your area then please contact us on 101 or make an anonymous report to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.