A flat that had lain empty for about a decade was audaciously converted into a lucrative, money-making cannabis factory by a drug-dealing Perthshire man.

But police had received intelligence that it was a production centre for the class B drug.

And when they went to the property in Crieff’s East High Street, they found that the locks had been changed - and had to force entry, Perth Sheriff Court was told.

Inside, they discovered four tents, several fitted out with their own power supply and lights, and seized more than 70 cannabis plants.

Depute fiscal Lora Apostolova told the court that if they all reached maturity and were harvested, they would have a potential maximum illicit value of almost £44,000.

A fingerprint belonging to 22-year-old Cailean Ward, of Crieff, was discovered on one of the lights and it led to him being arrested and appearing on indictment on two drugs charges.

The court heard that Ward had also been dealing in the psychoactive drug ecstasy from his own flat at Colville House, in the town’s Leadenflower Road.

In a raid on his home, officers recovered more than 1200 grammes of the class A drug in powder form, along with almost 1500 ecstasy tablets.

The maximum total value of the powder was £52,000 and the tablets had a top worth of almost £15,000.

Ward will be sentenced on August 23 and he was remanded in custody while a background report is obtained.

He admitted being concerned in the supply of ecstasy at Colville House.

He also pled guilty to a second charge of being involved in the production of cannabis at the East High Street address.

Ms Apostolova said that during December 2019, and January 2020, police received intelligence that there was a cannabis cultivation at the flat in East High Street.

Checks to establish the occupant revealed that the property was owned by a Mr McLarty.

“He stated that it had been unoccupied for around 10 years and was happy to allow police permission to enter and search it,” explained the fiscal.

After forcing entry and getting into the kitchen area, a black tent was found. It was lying open but was “clearly part of a cannabis cultivation”.

Next to that was a slightly smaller tent which had a power supply and headlights and two small plants were inside.

“On entering the living room, a large tent, about six feet tall by 10 feet wide, was found. This contained 17 mature plants, each about two feet tall,” the fiscal stated.

“This had a working power supply, including heat lamps and also a large ventilation system which had power was being ventilated out into the chimney.

“A single bed was next to this tent. Clothing was also on the bed - and on top of the tent - and there were discarded food containers.”

A fourth tent was discovered in an adjoining room.

That also had a working power supply and contained functioning heat lamps.

The fiscal said it contained 54 small plants.

In total, 73 plants were recovered and drugs officers were of the opinion that had they all reached maturity, they would have a potential illicit value of between £14,600-£43,800.

Items seized from the flat were sent for forensic analysis and the incriminating fingerprint belonging to Ward was found on one of the lights taken from a growing area.

The drugs bust at Colville House also came about after Police Scotland were again “in receipt of intelligence”.

Officers obtained a search warrant and went to his home on October 21, 2020 where they discovered ecstasy in powder, pill and liquid form.

Drugs officers put the value of the total recovered powder at between £15,600-£52,000 and the tablets between £4400 and £14,650.

Given the small amount of liquid, no value was given for it.

Ward admitted being concerned in the supply of ecstasy at Leadenflower Road between October 21, 2020, and February 12, 2021.

He also pled guilty to producing the controlled drug cannabis at the East High Street location between December 20, 2019, and January 22, 2020.

He was subject to three bail orders at the time.

Sheriff William Wood noted that although Ward had previously served a custodial sentence, he had not been jailed as an adult therefore he was obliged to call for reports.

He remanded the accused in custody until August 23.