Glasgow & West Scotland

Ex Ayr United director David McKee jailed over drugs haul

A former managing director of Ayr United Football Club has been jailed for 20 months after being caught with herbal cannabis worth £257,889.

David McKee, 55, admitted involvement in the supply of the drug on 18 April last year at his home in Ayr and at another address in the town.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told McKee fell into financial difficulties after the death of his daughter.

He was managing director of Ayr United between 1991 and 1995.

The court heard how police began keeping watch on McKee after a tip off.

Drugs transfer

They saw him drive his Rover across town to met another man in a white Mercedes van.

The two returned to his home in the town's Greenfield Avenue and began loading 104 heat-sealed plastic bags from his garage into the van before returning to the first address.

The bin bags were transferred to a smaller van which was stopped in the village of Carsphairn, Dumfries and Galloway.

The total weight of the cannabis was more than 25 kilos and had a potential street value of £257,889.

Pleading for leniency, defence advocate Euan Dow told how McKee's businesses had gone bust after his 19-year-old daughter Leann died from cystic fibrosis.

McKee and his brother, Robert, each donated a lung for a pioneering transplant operation in 1999.

The court heard how his daughter was able to gain a university degree and married before her death in 2007.

Mr Dow also said McKee's wife, Marion, had been treated for cancer and he had struggled to work after the death of his daughter but had been unable to avoid financial failure.

He had to sell his house, then rent it back from the buyer.

Wife 'targeted'

Mr Dow said he saw the opportunity to make some money when he was asked to store the cannabis and move it to another location but had made "the wrong choice".

The lawyer said that because of the loss of the drug consignment McKee had been assaulted, his car had been set on fire and his wife had been "targeted" in the family home.

"He is adamant that his involvement in such matters is at and end," said Mr Dow.

Sentencing McKee, judge Lord Burns said: "I accept that because of the tragic death of your daughter, who you valiantly attempted to assist, your business collapsed with catastrophic consequences and I can have nothing but sympathy for these circumstances.

"However, you involved yourself deliberately in what must be regarded as a substantial operation."

Lord Burns said that under the circumstances a custodial sentence was unavoidable.