DRUGS with a street value of more than £600,000 were found growing in a disused building in Selkirk which had already been raided for being a cannabis farm three years earlier.

A total of 652 cannabis plants were recovered from the former convenience store which is just yards away from a primary school.

Teenager Emiliano Boia - who had only been in the UK for six months before the latest police raid in January - now faces a lengthy spell behind bars after pleading guilty to a drug dealing charge.

An illegal Vietnamese immigrant was jailed for three years after a cannabis cultivation with drugs to the value of £150,000 was found in the same building in Selkirk's Curror Street in October 2015 after complaints about the smell coming from the property.

Despite the previous history of the building, it was again used as a cannabis farm three years later with the electricity supply by-passed to assist the cultivation.

And when police raided the property on January 15, Boia was the only person found on the premises and subsequently arrested.

However Selkirk Sheriff Court heard that it was accepted the 19-year-old was probably "at the lower echelons of the operation."

Boia, originally from the Albanian city of Elbasan but who grew up in the Greece town of Nafplion, is understood to have arrived in Britain in July visiting cities such as London and Glasgow.

He is now on remand at Polmont Young Offenders Institution and will be sentenced later this month.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told the court Boia had no previous convictions and had been in custody since January 16.

He said:"The location here is a two-storey derelict property in a residential street in Selkirk.

"Previously there were shop premises on the ground-floor and a four-bedroom flat upstairs.

"It has been uninhabited for some time but it is not the first time  a cultivation of cannabis has been found there but I stress Mr Boia had no connection with the previous episode.

"On January 11 a search warrant was obtained and on January 15 a search was carried out.

"A strong smell of cannabis was evident as soon as the premises were entered and the accused was found in the bedroom area.

"The electricity supply had been by-passed but again there is no suggestion the accused was involved in that.

"Once the place was made safe a full search was carried out."

Mr Fraser detailed the amount of plants recovered during the raid and the  stage they were at in the growing process.

He concluded that the wholesale value of the cannabis recovered would have been worth £219,000 but a "conservative estimate" of street deals of £10 per gramme would produce a figure close to £625,000.

Mr Fraser said:"The accused was the only person found in the locus.  The position is that the accused  was part of an organised drug production and supply operation.

"While in no way do I want to minimise his position, it is quite possible he was at the lower echelons of that operation.

"It is clear from items recovered that he was eating, sleeping and brushing his teeth there.

"This was a professional set up but it was pointed out that there was no watering system in place and the crop had to be hand-watered."

Defence lawyer Greg McDonnel accepted background reports would be required and delayed his plea in mitigation until the sentencing date.

Boia pleaded guilty to a charge of being concerned in the supply of cannabis at the premises in Curror Street on January 15.

His not guilty plea to producing the class B drug was accepted by the Crown.

Sheriff Peter Paterson said:"This is a serious offence in which you have played a significant role.

"Because of your age and lack of previous convictions I am obliged to obtain a Criminal Justice Social Work Report.

"It is only fair to say and warn you that a custodial sentence is by far the most likely outcome."