A Liverpool man who smuggled heroin into Shetland to pay off a £250 debt to dealers was jailed for 32 months at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.
The court heard Ian Byrne, 39, of Roundhey, Stockbridge Village, was caught coming off the NorthLink ferry on 28th March after police received a tip-off. He may have been used as a decoy by drug dealers in Liverpool to allow a larger quantity of heroin to slip through unnoticed.
Byrne, a father of eight who said he was not a heroin user, was found to have two packets of heroin hidden in his rectum with a street value of about £4,000.
He has been held in custody for more than two months and admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin when he appeared in court last month. Sentence was deferred for reports.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Byrne had been pressured into taking the heroin to Shetland to repay the money he owed. Pressure had even been put on his sick mother to encourage him to do the job.
Sheriff Graeme Napier said he hoped the people who had been exploiting Byrne and his mother would now support them. But Mr Allan said the opposite was the case because Byrne had been told he would have to pay back the value of the seized drugs.
The Sheriff said it was unfortunate the frequent jailing of Liverpudlian heroin smugglers in Shetland was not reported in the press in the English city because the sentences might put people off attempting the trip.
Byrne’s 32-month sentence was backdated to 30th March.