A POPULAR junior football player avoided jail by the ‘skin of his teeth’ after being caught out selling cocaine.

Stephen Cargill, 33, was warned by a judge he was only narrowly avoiding custody after pleading guilty to involvement in supplying cocaine.

Cargill, who previously played for Maybole in his career, pleaded guilty to supplying the class A between July 1 and December 18 back in 2020 at his address in Barshare Road, Cumnock.

When he appeared for sentencing last week [Thursday, July 28], defence solicitor Neil McPherson told the court he knew his client well from junior football and had a mostly clean record after a previous drug conviction.

He said: “He was a football player for sometime, he was playing junior football at time and sought after.

“He is spoken very highly of by his employers. Having got into his employment they think so highly of him they said he is going to get his job back and be reemployed.

“This is a lot for him and he is not taking this in his stride. He has told his employers what he expects may happen – and his son why he might only see him at the weekend but then not for some time.

“If he was lying to me I would know. He is in all respects other than this a good member of society. He would accept any alternative [to custody].”

Sheriff Mhairi Mactaggart said: “I think I’ve already explained the view that this is one of the most serious charges.

“You have to appreciate that is an absolute scourge in our community. What you did here was one of the worst things you can do.”

The judge added if she hadn’t been persuaded by his defence solicitor’s arguments “you wouldn’t be in the community for your son’s next birthday”.

Cargill was placed on a community payback order for three years – with the maximum amount of 300 hours imposed. He was also ordered to find some way of making it up to the community.