A STEVENSTON man has been jailed over a £70,000 heroin haul stashed just yards away from an addiction clinic – that was discovered by police investigating his suspected murder.

Police officers received information that Raymond Kyle may have been murdered after he vanished from his Stevenston home and went looking for him.

When they attended the flat he was living in at the time - in Moorpark Road West, Stevenston - they could hear his dog barking but the door went unanswered and there were no other signs of life.

Believing he may have been murdered and lying dead inside the property, they forced open the door to gain entry to the flat. Once inside they tried to find food for his dog, who had been abandoned in a room where the floor was covered with faeces and urine.

They looked in the kitchen cupboard to find food for the dog and discovered the drugs in the cupboard.

The heroin stash – four bags containing a total of 1,054.74g of the drug – was found during a search of the flat Kyle was living in at the time of the August 23, 2016 bust.

The flat was just a couple of hundred yards away from the North Ayrshire Council Addiction Services Clinic.

The details emerged when Kyle, 31, appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court over the haul. He pleaded guilty to an amended charge of breaking Section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by being concerned in the supply of heroin on the day in question.

His co-accused was cleared when his plea of not guilty to the same charge was accepted.

Procurator Fiscal Depute David McDonald explained: “Police attended the locus attempting to trace Mr Kyle.

“They were in receipt of information that Mr Kyle was a missing person and may be in danger.

“They could hear a dog barking but there was no reply to the door.

“Police were told to force entry to the locus, given the concerns for the safety of Mr Kyle.”

The four bags containing the drug weighed a total weight of just over 1kg, meaning it was worth £69,000 on the streets.

Defence solicitor Gordon Ritchie said it was an “extremely unusual” case and one of the most unique he had dealt with in his 30-year career.

He said Kyle had fallen foul of gangsters whilst living in Glasgow by running up a drug debt through cocaine addiction.

And he said the unnamed criminals were so intent on seeking revenge that police confirmed Kyle’s life was at risk.

The lawyer said: “What I can say to the court is supported by the police. This was an illegal search – the police had no right to enter the house. They did so for the safety and threat to life of the accused.

“He was told to hold it [the stash] or him, his partner and members of his family would be harmed, if not killed. He was basically told, ‘do this or you’re dead’. He told his partner their lives were in danger and they had to leave their home. They abandoned the house, abandoned the drugs and abandoned the family dog.

“Police thought he may have been lying dead or dying in the house. Police had a genuine belief this man’s life was at risk.

“This is not something the accused simply made up - this was a missing persons investigation.”

Sheriff David Pender deferred sentence for background reports.

And, when Kyle returned to the dock this week to learn his fate, the sheriff jailed him for 20 months.