25th September 2018
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Sheriff: heroin is anything but glamorous

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A sheriff has challenged heroin’s “glamorous” image after hearing an addict scratched his foot until it bled when he injected it with the highly-addictive class A substance.

Sheriff Graeme Napier said a letter from addict Matthew Smith, 25, of Grodians in Lerwick, showed the drug was the exact opposite of glamorous.

His comments came after Smith pleaded guilty at Lerwick Sheriff Court to stealing a bottle of shampoo from Tesco on 24th February – a day after being released on bail on a separate matter.

Smith’s case was last week continued without plea and he was locked up until today’s appearance.

The sheriff said: “There is a section [of the letter] I wanted to pick up on, because I’m aware some people in Shetland think heroin is a glamorous drug.”

Quoting from the letter, he said: “I [Smith] made a wrong decision to go and get some heroin … for a little treat for myself. The heroin made me itchy where I injected it into my foot, and I itched my foot and ankle so much it started to bleed.”

The sheriff told the court: “It [heroin] does not strike me as a glamorous drug.”

Smith is pinning his hopes on getting a drug treatment and testing order, for which preparations are underway.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said: “I’m told that can be done if he’s at liberty today.”

But procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said there was concern Smith might not be able to “extricate himself” from the drugs scene if he stayed at Grodians.

“It may benefit if he had to comply with a failed impairment test,” he said.

Sheriff Napier said he had “real reservations” over Smith’s chances of staying out of trouble. But he released him on bail until 23rd March.

He added: “Quite rightly shopkeepers make complaints when people who persistently get involved in that kind of offending are let out on bail just to do it again, however – in fairness to Mr Smith – he is not a prolific thief.”

As a special condition, Smith will have to take the impairment test if asked to by the police.

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