Police have welcomed the prison sentence yesterday handed to a man who tried to smuggle heroin into the isles.
Allan Stewart from Glasgow was sentenced to 42 months at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Stewart’s car was stopped by police in Shetland on the A970 at Voe on 31st December. They discovered heroin with a street value to £140,000.
Shetland’s chief inspector Angus MacInnes said: “This case is yet another example of our commitment to tackle the supply of drugs into Shetland.
“This seizure was the culmination of excellent police work and has stopped a huge supply of heroin going into communities in Shetland and bringing untold misery to those who are involved in drug taking, their families and their communities.
“We will continue to pro-actively target those who are involved in the supply of controlled drugs into the area and I would like to remind the public that we rely on your support and information to disrupt the supply of drugs and arrest those responsible.”
Appearing in court on Thursday, Stewart pleaded guilty to the offence which came to light following a tip-off.
The court heard that a major drug gang was thought to be behind the consignment.
Three men in a Volkswagen Passat had been seen acting suspiciously at the Aberdeen ferry terminal, police were told.
When the ferry docked at Lerwick the following morning, which was Hogmanay, the police watched the Passat drive off the car deck and head north on the A970 to Voe.
When police moved in the driver was physically shaking and his voice was trembling when questioned, advocate depute David Taylor, prosecuting, told the court.
Back-seat passenger Stewart was sitting beside a blue holdall containing two flasks which hid the heroin.
The charge Stewart admitted also alleged that the offence was aggravated by a connection with serious organised crime.
Mr Taylor told the court: “Intelligence suggests the accused is well-documented on the Scottish intelligence data base in relation to the misuse of drugs.
“The accused, Stewart, is thought to be acting at a very low level within an organised crime group.”
He had three previous convictions for simple possession of drugs, the court was told.
Solicitor advocate Euan Cameron, defending, said this was Stewart’s first and only involvement in drug trafficking but he had a history of drug abuse. His habit had led to him running up a debt of £1,000 which he could not pay.
About 10 days before the trip to Shetland, Stewart had been taken to a house in Maryhill and assaulted so badly he needed to go to hospital.
Threats were also made against his mother – then he was given a chance to clear the debt by driving to Shetland.
“He chose to accept that offer,” Mr Cameron said. “He was unaware of the exact nature of the drugs he was transporting.”