A FORMER soldier has admitted being the “gardener” for two major cannabis cultivations in the Borders.

Drugs with a street value of £73,000 were found in Hawick after police searched two properties in the town.

Aleksei Golovan, 38, who served with the Russian army but now has Estonian citizenship, pleaded guilty at Jedburgh Sheriff Court to charges of producing cannabis and being concerned in the supply of the class B drug.

The offences happened between May and June last year at houses in Duke Street and Princes Street in Hawick.

Procurator fiscal Fraser Matheson said police found drug-producing equipment in both properties with plants to the value of £29,000 which if sold in the street could yield a maximum value of £73,000.

A total of £3,500 in cash was also recovered.

Mr Matheson said: “The accused’s role was that of a gardener.

“He received instructions from someone whose identity was probably unknown to water the plants.

“But he is still a critical link in the supply chain.”

Defence lawyer Colin Severin said Golovan had been working on the construction site at the St James Centre in Edinburgh when he suddenly lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic and was left with no money.

He explained that he was offered work but had no indication at the time of what was involved and he was picked up and taken to an address in Hawick.

Mr Severin said his client was a first offender.

Sentence was deferred until February 8 at Selkirk Sheriff Court for background reports.

There was no application for bail and Golovan was remanded in custody.

Source:  https://www.bordertelegraph.com/news/19035409.hawick-cannabis-plants-cultivated-ex-soldier/