Detectives maintained a vigil at a Shetland drug dealer’s bedside for four days until he passed packages containing nearly £4,000 worth of heroin which he had swallowed.
Kieren Roberts, 22, fell seriously ill after eating the heroin wraps and on Thursday he was jailed for a total of 37 months by Perth Sheriff Court.
The court was told that Roberts became extremely unwell and remained in the custody of police officers as he battled to survive at Perth Royal Infirmary.
It took fully four days for the officers to recover four packages from his system, which contained a total of around 34 grams of heroin.
The court was told the heroin had a street value of £3,900 – although Roberts was taking it to Shetland, where it is sold for half-price.
Roberts, of 31 Haldane Burgess Crescent, Lerwick, admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin at Perth Royal Infirmary and Perth police HQ on 29 April this year. He also admitted a charge of possessing heroin at the same time.
Solicitor David Holmes, defending, said: “What happened was that he had concealed the heroin in such a way as to cause himself a significant prospect of harm.
“He was in hospital for a number of days as a result. He has no recollection of the four days which passed while he was in hospital, having ingested these drugs.
“He was looked after by custody police officers. Prior to this he had been in prison in Perth and had been released. He met an acquaintance there who told him where he could obtain heroin.
“He got some for himself and was to sell the rest on for a substantial profit. He was going to Shetland. In Shetland the value can be as low as £50 a gram.”
Mr Holmes said his client’s mother believed that his development had been impaired by a bout of childhood meningitis, but added that his client knew what he was doing.
Sheriff Michael Fletcher said: “The courts have said time and time again that people who are involved in the supply of class A drugs will be treated very seriously.
“In your case you already have a conviction for the same offence and that makes it more serious. I take into account that, while in some parts of the country the value may have been higher, it was lower where you were taking the drugs.”
However, the sheriff noted that the value in Shetland would still have been around £1,600 and he jailed Roberts for a total of three years and one month.