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Heroin courier gets 40 months

AN ABERDEEN drugs courier, who was intercepted when trying to smuggle heroin worth £20,000 into Shetland, was sentenced to 40 months in jail when he appeared before Lerwick Sheriff Court, on Wednesday.

Simon Phillip McDonald, of the city’s 134 Garthdee Road, was arrested by waiting police officers when he disembarked from the NorthLink ferry in Lerwick, on the morning of 21 November.

Police officers, who had acted on a tip-off, found nine packages with a total of 140.5 grams of heroin concealed in his body.

The 37 year old had pled guilty to the charge last month and appeared for sentencing on Wednesday.

Sheriff Graeme Napier said this was one of the largest amounts of heroin he had to deal with since becoming the sheriff for the northern isles.

The court heard how McDonald, who had a heroin habit himself, was befriended by a man from the Liverpool area who gave him drugs and also money to deal with some financial problems.

However, the new friend quickly became threatening and forced McDonald to take drugs to Shetland to “satisfy the debt”.

The court on Wednesday heard that a gun had been held against his head while the packages with the drugs were inserted up his rectum.

McDonald had been instructed to travel to Lerwick, meet someone in the town and not to return to Aberdeen before the drugs had been sold.

The court also heard that McDonald had fully cooperated with police once arrested, but had failed to alert the authorities of his predicament while on the journey to Shetland.

Sheriff Graeme Napier said it was his job to disrupt the “life wasting enterprise” of the heroin trade and sentenced McDonald to 40 month in jail, starting on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, sentence on a 39 year old Lerwick man was deferred for reports until 20 April, after he pled guilty to being involved in the supply of heroin at Jamieson’s Quay, in Aberdeen, on 1 April last year.

Michael Swannie, of 89 St Olaf’s Street, but now of 5 Ladies Drive, was found to  be in possession 10.6 grams of heroin at the NorthLink ferry terminal, in Aberdeen.

Finally, a 36 year old Ralph William Halcrow, from Cunningsburgh was fined £600 for possessing a personal quantity of heroin at his home address at Brind, on 26 September, last year.