Jail for Virkie cannabis supplier

A man who allowed his home to be a centre for drug dealing and who was found with almost £7,000 worth of cannabis following a police search, has been jailed for 20 months.

Raffic Sukhram, 55, of Scatness, Virkie, previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis and cannabis resin at his home and elsewhere between 20th May 2016 and 5th December 2016 when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said on 5th December police acted on intelligence and searched his home address.

They found a number drug-related items and paraphernalia including cannabis grinders, scales and small bags, as well as a mobile phone and about £1,800.

Herbal cannabis weighing 185.3 grammes was found with a potential value of £3,050, Mr Mackenzie, said.

Cannabis resin was also found, with a special cavity in the wall behind a framed picture to hide the resin.

Mr MacKenzie said 1016.9 grammes of resin was found with a potential value of £3,910.

Sukhram’s phone was also analysed with messages regarding the delivering, ordering or payment around controlled drugs.

Messages between Sukhram and a mainland supplier showed deals amounted to £25,000.

Other messages also related to local supply.

Defence agent Mike Chapman said Sukhram suffered a serious road traffic accident in 2013.

This meant suffering constant and severe pain and Sukhram started using cannabis to alleviate it.

He quickly became reliant on the drug.

Sukhram also started to suffer from deteriorating mental health following the accident and in September 2015 was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and mild depression.

He said the combination of physical and mental health difficulties made Sukhram more susceptible when a third party encouraged him to use compensation money from the accident to buy cannabis.

“Mr Sukhram also allowed his home to be used as a centre for drug dealing,” Mr Chapman said.

“It is his position that the other party was the prime mover in this enterprise, but he can’t deny involvement in it.”
Sukhram’s main benefit of being involved was a constant, free supply of drugs, Mr Chapman said, though he did not become a rich man.

“He’s by no means a drugs baron,” said the defence agent, noting a proceeds of crime application was only looking to recover £1,880.

He said Sukhram was at low risk of re-offending and since Sukhram was raided by police Sukhram’s companions had drifted away and he was no longer in touch with them.

Mr Chapman asked for a community payback order rather than a custodial sentence, as well as a restriction of liberty order.

Sheriff Philip Mann said it was a significant course of drug dealing and it took place over a significant amount of time.

“It is very seldom indeed that I would consider a non-custodial sentence for drug dealing of this nature.”

Despite Sukhram’s health problems, he said: “I can see no reasonable alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Sheriff Mann ordered a forfeiture of all items found in the search, apart from the money.

A confiscation order for £1,880 was also served.


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