A CLYDEBANK drug dealer caught with £23,000 of cocaine in his home has avoided being jailed.

Shawn Gallagher pleaded guilty in August to having the class A drug in his Singer Gardens property on April 27 last year.

He had 230.58g in a unit in one of the bedrooms, as well as £440 in cash. The Crown estimated the drugs were the remains of a quarter kilo deal, worth about £9,500. But broken up into one gram deals at £100, it could potentially be worth £23,000.

Sentence had been deferred for background reports on the 32-year-old.

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court on October 8, defence solicitor Paul Sweeney said his client was unemployed at the time he was arrested and was using about one gram a day of cocaine.

He said Gallagher racked up a £700-debt and agreed to stash the drugs found by police as a way to clear it.

“He accepts full responsibility and fully appreciates the grave situation he has put himself in,” said the lawyer.

“He became involved in something he had no reason to be involved in.

“He stands to lose his liberty today. He is back in full-time employment and poses a low risk of reoffending.”

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “You have come as close today as you will ever want to come to being sent to prison.

“I’m just persuaded that this is the last offence you will commit.”

As an alternative to custody, the sheriff imposed the maximum number of hours of unpaid work in the community, 300. He also put Gallagher under social work supervision for 18 months.

He will also be under a curfew for six months between 9pm and 6am. And the court will review his progress on November 16.

Sheriff Hendry warned that anything less than full engagement with the court order or any breach would lead to him being jailed.

The cash seized in the raid last year was confiscated by the court.