Shetland’s sheriff renewed his criticism of the drugs trade today as he sentenced the latest heroin smuggler to be caught in the isles to four years in prison.
Sheriff Graeme Napier made his comments after Merseyside woman Virginia Creggy, 21, of Cornton Vale Prison, admitted concealing £21,000-worth of the class A drug as she arrived at Sumburgh Airport.
The court had heard Creggy had hidden 1,049 individual wraps containing heroin weighing over 160 grammes in total.
She had caught a taxi at the airport before police, acting on intelligence, caught up with her in Lerwick on her way to North Roe.
The court heard Creggy, who had built up drug debts after using cocaine, had faced threats against her, her family and young son, if she failed to carry out the deed.
Sentencing her, Sheriff Napier said he accepted she had had a minimal role to play in the venture, although he insisted she did stand to gain financially from it. She stood to wipe out her debts by carrying out the deed.
“You have pled guilty to the very serious crime of being concerned in the supplying of 160.8 grammes, or £21,000 in value, of the class A drug heroin, a drug that has blighted many young lives both in the area of your home and here in Shetland.
“A number of these people, some on the road to recovery, are appearing before me today for reviews of their progress. Many more are still addicted and provide an easy market for those who are happy to make financial profit out of the destruction of these individuals’ lives.”
He added: “You say you were not to benefit financially from this involvement but of course that is not the case. You were to have your own, and possibly also your sister’s, drug debts wiped out – that was the financial incentive to you.
“Anyone who becomes involved in the illicit drug trade, as you have in the past … must know that if you run up a tab for drugs there will at some point be a day of reckoning when, if you do not pay, there may be repercussions.”
The sheriff said he had recently become aware of a “predominance” of female couriers being caught as they entered the isles.
“I am not sure if there is any particular reason for that – whether, for example, it is thought that such a person will attract a lower sentence if caught.
“Some of those individuals are particularly vulnerable. Many, like you, have children. Whilst there are many elements of vulnerability in your background, it is nothing compared to that of many I deal with.”
He said he would be “failing” in his duties if he did not mark the seriousness of her offending “with a significant sentence of imprisonment”.
He backdated the prison-term to 8th April, when Creggy was first taken into custody.