Former Hearts player facing jail over drug dealing operation
A FORMER Hearts footballer is facing jail after being convicted of running a Â£37,500 cocaine dealing operation.
Paul MacDonald, 29, was arrested by officers who discovered drugs and manufacturing equipment at a flat following a tip off.
During a raid in March, 2015, they found a hydraulic press, a set of scales and bags containing cocaine worth £37,500 at the two bedroom property in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.
The ex-midfielder’s DNA was found on the buttons of the scales and his fingerprints were found on the bags and he was charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
MacDonald, who also played for Clyde and represented Scotland at youth level, claimed he had only visited the flat once six months earlier to carry out an intruder alarm survey for the landlord.
He said a set of scales and empty bags had fallen out of a boiler cupboard when he was there and he had picked them up.
A jury at Hamilton Sheriff Court took just an hour to find him guilty of the charge by a majority verdict.
He has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.
Macdonald, of East Kilbride, who formed a security alarm firm after quitting the game in 2010, told the court: “I was given a key to the flat by the landlord and I went there to do a survey.
“I had done some work for her in the past and she asked me to inspect two properties she had in Blantyre.
“I was only in this flat once and later the police arrived at my door at 8 o’clock in the morning and said I was being arrested for the misuse of drugs.
“I had no idea what they were talking about.
“While I was there I was in all the rooms and I picked items up which fell out a cupboard so my fingerprints and DNA would have been there, 100 per cent.
“But I had no involvement with any drug dealing. I had nothing to do with this.”
MacDonald’s trial heard a neighbour at the block of flats said he had seen a man resembling him frequenting the property.
Defence lawyer Diarmid Bruce had appealed to the jury to find his client not guilty.
He said: “Paul MacDonald had an entirely legitimate reason to be in that flat and a legitimate explanation why his prints and DNA were found there.
“He had an alarm company and he was there to do a survey.
“The police found a match and focused their attention on him without following up any other lines of inquiry which is remarkable.
“This is a case where the police have made the evidence fit the crime.”
MacDonald was found guilty of dealing drugs from the flat between March, 2014, and March, 2015.
Sheriff Thomas Millar told MacDonald: “I have to call for reports but given the nature of the charge you will be remanded in custody for the preparation of these reports.”