A COCAINE ‘footsoldier’ busted with £15,000 worth of the class A drug was jailed after getting ‘caught in crossfire’ for supplying.

John McFarlane, 42, pleaded guilty to supplying the cocaine at an address in Lane Crescent, Drongan on June 9 last year.

McFarlane was sent down to serve 15 months in prison despite defence solicitor Steven Maxwell urging Sheriff Desmond Leslie to grant a non-custodial sentence.

When McFarlane appeared for sentencing at Ayr Sheriff Court last week, Mr Maxwell said: “On August 10 he pleaded guilty to charge one on the indictment and not guilty to charge two. Reports were called for.

“It was his own use of that particular drug that lead to the situation of himself vulnerable.

“He abused the drug to such an extend that after separating from his previous partner his overuse of the particular drug he found himself indebted to a number of legitimate businesses and others.

“It appears to me he was a victim of his own use of the drug. He was abusing and facilitating that use, that facilitation resulted in the circumstances and situation he finds himself in today.

“Police intervention was very much a wake up call. He has knuckled down since the matter was raised by police, he has managed to keep free from any sort of drug since June last year.

“Under all the circumstances I invite your lordship to consider the matter could be dealt with in other circumstances than custody.”

However, on asking McFarlane to stand up in the dock, Sheriff Desmond Leslie said: “You may be a footsoldier in the whole process of the distribution and dealing of class A drugs but sometimes footsoldiers get caught up in the crossfire. “You should have known better.

“You have previous convictions, you knew the consequences of what you were dealing with.

“I’m advised the value was £15,000, whether you accept that is immaterial, it is the value I’ve been given for the distribution of those drugs.

“These drugs are a scourge on our communities, they support criminal activity throughout Ayrshire and way beyond.

The sheriff told him: “You will go to jail for a period of 15 months.”