A DRUG dealer who threatened to cut off a man’s toes after turning his Musselburgh home into a drug den has been jailed.

Malik Grant and his gang took over the home of John Somerville on the town’s Pinkie Terrace and began dealing cocaine from the address.

Grant, from Birmingham, also threatened to hack off Mr Somerville’s toes if he failed to hand over cash to him during the drug-dealing operation in February.

The 18-year-old supplier was ordered to be detained for 19 months when he appeared in the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Co-accused Kaine Jones and Ellis Ryan, both 19, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and were each handed a two-year supervision order.

All three accused, who had travelled to Scotland from the Midlands, claimed they had been forced to carry out the dealing scheme by a violent drugs gang in Birmingham in order to pay off a debt.

Paul Dunne, Grant’s solicitor, said “sophisticated [drug] gangs need naive people” to carry out their work and added his client was “a disposable frontline troop” for the unscrupulous gang.

Mr Dunne added: “He was sent to the Edinburgh area and given the means of selling drugs from the home. He did not source the drugs and deeply regrets his actions.

“He did not owe the debt but became involved.”

Jones, from Birmingham, also admitted to being concerned in the supply of cocaine from the Musselburgh home, while Ryan, from Northfield, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to knife possession.

Ryan’s solicitor said her client had been handed an Osman letter – a warning of a death threat – from police after threats had been made to his life and he had since moved away from his family home.

The court was also told that his mother’s home in England had been attacked by a drugs gang following his arrest.

The apprentice chef claimed he had carried the blade for protection while he was in Scotland but since his arrest had “removed himself from his criminal associates”.

Jones had been on remand at Polmont Young Offenders Institute since his arrest in February and Emma Templeton, defending, said her client had recently turned 19 and was “now at a crossroads” in his life.

Sheriff Alistair Noble spared Jones further jail time after hearing he had already spent five months in custody and handed out two years of supervision to mark the offence.

The sheriff was also content to hand down the same sentence to Ryan.

But the sheriff said there could be “no alternative to custody” for Grant after he admitted issuing the amputation threat and the cocaine dealing charge.

Sheriff Noble sentenced Grant to 16 months’ detention for the supply of cocaine and a further three months for the threat to cut off Mr Somerville’s toes.