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Girl free, men jailed for heroin haul

TWO former drug addicts from Glasgow were jailed at Lerwick Sheriff Court after being involved in smuggling more than £30,000 worth of heroin into Shetland last October.

The tearful 21 year old girlfriend of one of the two men escaped a prison sentence after the court heard she had never taken drugs or faced any criminal charge, and had only become involved to protect her boyfriend.

On 20 October last year Robert Bradley, described as a prisoner at Barlinnie jail, and his girlfriend Amanda Cairns, of 11 Aberfeldy Street, Glasgow, were stopped at Lerwick’s Holmsgarth ferry terminal carrying heroin with a potential street value in Shetland of more than £23,000. Both admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug

The court was told the couple had been tracked down by drug dealers having left the Maryhill area of the city to avoid threats after 23 year old Bradley built up a debt of more than £2,000 to feed his cocaine habit.

Bradley was forced to swallow six condoms containing the heroin, but when he was unable to consume more than three Cairns stepped in to help and the pair travelled up to Shetland together on 19 October.

The court heard the couple were replacing drugs which had been seized when 28 year old Thomas Shields, described as a prisoner in Craiginches, was stopped at Shetland’s Sumburgh airport on 16 October. He too pled guilty to supplying drugs.

Shields had been forced by the same gang to swallow four packages containing heroin worth more than £11,000 before catching the flight to the islands, where police were waiting after a tip off.

His defence agent Ian Sievwright said he too had built up a debt of more than £2,000 taking heroin in 2006, but had avoided his creditors until last October when they threatened both him and his mother.

“He was taken into a car and he was told in no uncertain terms that he would transport a quantity of drugs by airplane to Shetland…and harm would be done to Mr Shields and his mother, who was also known to these people, if he did not do what they asked him to,” Mr Sievwright said.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Bradley had been approached after Shields’ arrest and told replacement drugs had to be taken immediately to the islands, where they have a much higher street value.

Bradley’s agent Martin Levery said while he was living in Maryhill his client had been subjected to several threats over his debts, and at one point someone came to his door with a hand gun.

He and Cairns, with whom he had been going out for seven years, moved across town but their whereabouts were discovered. In October Bradley was ordered to swallow six packages, but could only manage three and to protect him from the gang Cairns offered to swallow the rest.

Cairns, a former hairdresser, broke down in tears in court when Sheriff Graeme Napier warned that she would probably go to jail for her actions. However agent Philip Cohen persuaded the sheriff not to imprison her after saying she had never taken drugs or been in trouble with the law.

“She was clearly very reluctant to get involved in the first place and when she was interviewed by the police she became extremely distraught and was crying uncontrollably. Her mindset at the time was such that she felt she had no option,” Mr Cohen said.

Sheriff Napier deferred sentence on Cairns for one year for her to be of good behaviour, but imprisoned both Bradley and Shields, both of whom were on bail at the time, for 40 months.

He said: “This is clearly a much more lucrative trade in Shetland than in Glasgow, hence the pressure to continue the trade here. The only thing I can do about that is to make it quite clear that people involved in this trade will get a heavy sentence.”