GETTING caught up in Shetland’s booming heroin trade cost two men a total of 72 months in jail this week.
Darren Gear, 32, a prisoner in Aberdeen, was sentenced to 42 months for storing heroin and money in his house in Lerwick for a dealer while Robert Young, 38, of Norbrek, Voe, landed a 38-month stretch for allowing heroin to be posted to his house.
Gear was caught after police stopped him in the early hours of 12th October and found a small amount of heroin. A search of his house at Ladies Drive revealed two bags of the drug weighing 48.85 grams hidden in a cupboard underneath a water boiler along with £500. He initially told the police the drugs, valued at £8,000, were for his own use and the money was savings to buy electrical appliances.
Solicitor Neil McRobert said Gear was from Fife and had been on methadone when he came to Shetland but news of his father’s serious illness sparked him into going back on heroin. He was now off it again. He had been looking after the heroin in his house just for the day before it was collected.
Gear has previous convictions, mainly for road traffic matters and dishonesty relating to his alcohol abuse, the only drug offence being a fiscal fine in Lerwick for having cannabis.
Sheriff Graeme Napier said Gear claimed he came to Shetland to escape drugs but then became involved in their supply. He jailed him for three and a half years backdated to the start of his detention in custody on 14th October.
Young, who appeared shortly after Gear on Wednesday, was busted on 1st March as the result of the drug sniffer dog detecting a parcel addressed to his house which was allowed to continue on its way under a controlled delivery. Police then burst into his house and found Young and a Liverpudlian man inside along with heroin. While the police were getting into the house an attempt was made to flush some of the drug down the toilet, although Young was not involved.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the heroin would have cost £600-£800 for the dealer to buy but would have fetched £4,020 in Shetland, realising a profit of £3,220-£3,420. Young admitted he was to get heroin and money for allowing his address to be used.
His defence agent, Mr McRobert, said Young had known the Liverpudlian man because he had stayed at Young’s house for three days last year and the two had perhaps taken heroin together. But the man reappeared months later and insisted he was staying again because a package was already in the post to the address. Pressure was put on Young and he had little say in what happened but his reward was to be heroin once he had signed for the package.
The sheriff said he was delighted to know Young thought that was the end of his involvement but it was not the end for the people who had to pick up the pieces of the lives destroyed in trade he was involved in. He jailed him for three years and two months.