A CLYDEBANK flat fire led to its owner pleading guilty to dealing cocaine, a court has heard.

An upstairs neighbour at the property in Montrose Street heard a smoke detector going around 9am on Christmas Eve 2015.

As he went out into his stairwell to flee the building and down the stairs, he saw smoke coming from the letter box of another flat.

The man called the fire service and after firefighters kicked the door in and extinguished the fire, they saw items that raised suspicions.

Police arrived with a search warrant, heard Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week, and found a set of scales and a bag containing white powder. It tested positive for cocaine, weighing 27.93g and worth potentially £1,120 in street deals.

The owner of the flat, Garry McDade, presented himself at Clydebank police station on January 4 last year. McDade, now of Clarence Street, pleaded guilty in March to being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

His defence solicitor last week, Kenny Clark, said since the offence, McDade’s life was on more of an “even keel”. He was said to be working six days a week to support his family.

He said: “Mr McDade had been allocated this flat, then moved back to a family home and allowed a friend to live in his flat. He knew what the flat was being used for. His friend was paying rent.”

Sheriff John Hamilton sentenced McDade to 175 hours of unpaid work within six months.