|Gangster Parmdeep Singh ran illegal empire from a hardware store in Paisley's Orchard Street|
The boss of a Paisley hardware shop has been unmasked as a drug kingpin who ran one of Scotland’s biggest cannabis farms.
Gangster Parmdeep Singh, 34, served unsuspecting locals as he masterminded his criminal empire from Pomy’s Hardware, in Orchard Street.
The bodybuilding thug’s firm in the former Guthrie Plus unit in the town centre lent him an air of respectability.
But, secretly, he was stockpiling 800 deadly machine gun bullets, a shotgun and raking in £1.5million every year for his gangland bosses, dealing dope from his Langbank home.
A worker from a nearby shop, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said she was shocked when the brute’s shady dealings were exposed.
She told the Paisley Daily Express: “I used to go into the shop sometimes and he’d serve me.
“I never had any clue he was up to this. He seemed like such a nice guy.
“It’s really shocking to hear he was involved with drugs and guns.
“It’s actually quite frightening.”
The yob was last week jailed for eight-and-a-half years after cops snared him with Kalashnikov rounds at his £600,000 five-bedroom house in Langbank, in June 2012.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Singh operated a sophisticated hash cultivation plant in a purpose-built windowless outhouse in the grounds of his home.
He spent £30,000 on equipment to grow the drug, fitting an elaborate fan system to mask the pungent smell of his crop to visitors.
Cops say the operation was one of the most profitable that they had ever discovered.
Defence advocate Dale Hughes told judge Lord Glennie that his client had mental health problems and he had turned to a life of crime after an unnamed Scots crime boss threatened him.
But Lord Glennie told Singh that he had to go to jail.
He added: “You stored ammunition for military grade weapons and cultivated drugs.
“The most appropriate sentence available to me for such serious offences is the imposition of custody.”
Singh pleaded guilty last November at Paisley Sheriff Court to the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
He also pleaded guilty to operating the massive drug farm.
Sheriff David Pender referred Singh to be sentenced at the High Court.
At previous proceedings, the court heard how Singh’s criminal operation came to light during a separate police probe into the theft of gym equipment from a health club in Morpeth in the north of England.
Fitness freak Singh, nicknamed Pomy, was thought to have swiped the gear and hid it at his house.
Detectives raided his home on June 10, 2012, and uncovered the hash set-up, the shotgun hidden under a sheet in his bedroom cupboard and 825 bullets.
After his arrest, Singh denied the charges for more than two years until he went on trial at Paisley Sheriff Court last month.
He initially blamed a cousin now living in India.
But he pled guilty after a jury heard a recording of an interview with detectives where he admitted the drugs, gun and ammo stashes were his.
Mr Hughes told the court that a split from his fiancée triggered a breakdown in Singh and he tried to commit suicide, threatening to jump from the Erskine Bridge but was coaxed down.
He said that Singh had poor judgment and came into contact with an unnamed gangland figure who took advantage of his weak character.
Mr Hughes added: “He was extremely naive and was exploited because of his vulnerability.
“He was prevailed upon to store the illegal items by a gentleman who issued threats about what he would do to his family if Mr Singh did not comply with his request.
“This man was an ex-army man. He had a military background.
“He was groomed by this man.”
35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.
36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.
37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them: