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Cannabis dealer given 20 months in prison

| Written by Shetland News

Lerwick sheriff court. Lerwick sheriff court. A MAN from Virkie who become involved in the supply of cannabis worth thousands of pounds after he started using the drug to relieve pain has been sent to prison for a year and eight months.

Police officers found cannabis and cannabis resin with a total street value of nearly £7,000 in his home last year alongside almost £2,000 in cash.

Raffic Sukhram, of Sandblister Place, Scatness, previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of the class B drugs to another or others on or between 20 May 2016 and 5 December 2016 at his home address.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday that police searched the 55 year old’s home after receiving intelligence.

They found equipment such as cannabis grinders, scales and bags, as well as a mobile phone.

Officers discovered 185.3 grams of herbal cannabis, which would have a total street value of £3,050 if broken down into its smallest sellable amounts.

They also found over 1kg of cannabis resin in a specially created hole in a wall behind a picture frame, with the drugs likely to fetch a total of £3,910 in its smallest sellable amounts.

The police also found £1,880 in cash, which was hidden inside a cassette case.

Officers found numerous text messages on the mobile phone which were related to the ordering, delivery and payment of drugs.

The total value of deals with a mainland supplier mentioned in the messages was about £25,000, Mackenzie said.

The fiscal said Sukhram initially denied supplying drugs to police and said the cash was for emergencies.

Defence agent Mike Chapman said his client starting using cannabis after suffering injuries in a serious car accident in 2013, which left him with constant pain.

But he “quickly became heavily reliant on cannabis” to relieve the pain.

Chapman said Sukhram was later diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and this made him more “suggestive” to the idea of putting compensation money towards buying cannabis, as well as letting his home be used as a “centre for drug dealing”.

The solicitor said it was his client’s position that another person was the “main man” in the operation, adding that Sukhram’s main benefit was the “almost free supply of drugs” for himself.

Chapman said Sukhram was neither a “rich man” nor a “drug baron” and encouraged Sheriff Philip Mann to take into account his circumstances, “negligent” criminal record and his low risk of reoffending.

Sheriff Mann said it was a “significant course of drug dealing” which took place over a period of time.

While he said he took into account Sukhram’s “significant health difficulties”, the sheriff ruled that the seriousness of the crime deserved prison.

“I cannot say that these outweigh the public interest in ensuring the offending of this nature is robustly dealt with,” Sheriff Mann said.

The sentence of 30 months in prison was reduced to 20 months to reflect his early plea.

The sheriff also granted forfeiture of the items seized in the police search and imposed a confiscation order for the value of the cash.

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