The latest in a long line of Liverpudlians to try to smuggle heroin into Shetland was sentenced to 44 months in prison at Lerwick Sheriff Court today.
Aberdeen prisoner Liam Senior, 27, could have evaded capture when he got off a plane at Sumburgh Airport last month with three packages of heroin concealed inside his person.
However a sharp-eyed off-duty policeman was suspicious of him at the airport and followed him back to Lerwick.
Senior took a taxi to a house in the the town’s Sandveien area. His pursuer contacted the police station and a number of officers attended the address.
On entering the house they found Senior sitting on the toilet. He was detained and taken to the police station where a strip search was carried out.
That proved negative, but Senior co-operated with police and confirmed he was concealing packages of diamorphine inside his person.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Senior produced three packages, which contained a number of pre-prepared individual £20 wraps. They weighed 88 grammes with a total street value of £11,000.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Senior was not a heroin user. He told sheriff Graeme Napier Senior had mounted debts of £750 and had come under intense pressure to make some form of payment.
He said those he owed the money to had threatened to burn his house down, as well as the houses of his girlfriend and his mother.
“He knew he should not have done what he did, but they gave him the chance to wipe that slate clean,” he said.
Mr Allan said Senior had worked in the past in Tenerife, and had been in the Foreign Legion. However he was unable to continue there because of a back injury.
Mr Allan said Senior did not know he was carrying heroin, although he conceded a point by sheriff Napier that he must have known it was a class A drug.
Senior was “shocked” when he eventually saw all the drugs laid out, he added.
He said Senior was in no doubt he was facing a custodial sentence, but insisted he had co-operated with police during their enquiries.
“I would ask you to give him maximum credit for that,” he urged sheriff Napier.
“He has faced up to this at the earliest opportunity and is aware he will spend some time in custody.”
Sentencing, sheriff Napier said Shetland had in the past been “immune” to the depravity heroin can bring, although that was no longer the case.
He said sentences he had imposed in similar cases had “almost without exception” been supported by the High Court when they had been appealed.
Recognising Senior’s early plea, he reduced the prison sentence from a five-and-a-half years starting off point, which was backdated to 14th October when Senior was first taken into custody.