A former soldier who served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan is beginning a three and a half year prison term after he admitted involvement in what was described as a “terrible trade” of drugs supply.
James Campbell acted as a courier for cocaine worth almost £34,000 at the smallest street-level deal.
Sheriff Philip Mann paid tribute to Campbell’s service, but warned he had no option but to impose a “significant” custodial sentence.
“I want to express and acknowledge your service to your country,” he told the 30-year-old from Wallasey, Merseyside.
“It is something you can be proud of, but it is no excuse for becoming involved in this terrible trade.
“I’m sure there are many people who have served their country, and gone through all the traumas that involved, without resorting to behaving in this manner.”
Campbell had previously been warned to expect prison after he admitted supplying cocaine to another, or others, at an address in Hamnavoe, Burra, as well as at Lerwick’s Lower Blackhill Industrial Estate and elsewhere.
The offence happened over a four-month period between 1st February and 12th June. He also admitted obstructing two police officers on 15th June as they tried to exercise their powers.
Campbell, 30, of Wallasey, Merseyside, was on bail at the time, having been granted bail in November 2014.
The class A substance was notable for being of a much higher purity rating than typically recorded in other seizures. The court previously heard that the cocaine seized had been assessed as being 61.5 per cent pure – far ahead of the average purity rate, which was put at 13 per cent.
The weight of the drugs seized was 97.29 grammes. The value, when broken down to the smallest deals, stood at £33,800.
However, Campbell had claimed to only have been paid a small sum of money for his involvement in the illegal enterprise.
At today’s hearing, defence agent Tommy Allan said Campbell had come to court prepared for the consequences.
He commended a social work report for being “realistic”.
“He appreciates the seriousness of the offence and, therefore, the likely disposal that will result from it.
“He is someone who has served his country, has been a soldier and served in other places where he has seen action, suffered an injury, and also lost friends and comrades.”
Mr Allan said one interpretation of the social work report was that Campbell had struggled to cope in civilian life.
He said his client had sought help from a doctor relating to post traumatic stress disorder. He said there had been an element of self medication, through the use of alcohol.
He admitted the dealing had taken place on more than one occasion.
Mr Allan urged the sheriff to bear in mind that Campbell, who worked as a scaffolder at Sullom, was a courier in a wider operation.
But that failed to impress sheriff Mann.
“I don’t know if it’s appropriate to describe your involvement as just being a courier, because any involvement in the supply of drugs is very serious,” he told Campbell.
“It doesn’t matter how minimal your involvement might be, it still facilitates the supply of drugs and all the misery that can cause.
“It seems a significant custodial sentence is required here.”
He sentenced Campbell to a total of three years and six months from today’s date.