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Another Merseyside heroin courier jailed

A HEROIN addict from Liverpool, who claimed she was forced to smuggle drugs worth almost £8,000 into Shetland to pay off a debt to dealers, was jailed for four years at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Lila Bernadette Cartwright, aged 47, had been stopped as she was being driven by a young man into Lerwick from Sumburgh airport on 17 February.

In court Cartwright, whose address was given as Cornton Vale prison, admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug.

Acting on a tip off, officers took her to Lerwick police station but had to obtain a search warrant and take her to Lerwick’s Gilbert Bain Hospital before she produced the four packages, which contained 392 pre-prepared £20 deals.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said this was “a familiar story of another Merseyside drugs courier with no connection to Shetland” bringing heroin into the isles.

The court heard that Cartwright had been sent to prison three times for dealing. She had stayed away from drugs for a while after her most recent release, but had fallen back into heroin addiction due to relationship problems.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said she owed £3,000 to drug dealers who had threatened her and her family over the debt.

“She was given 10 minutes notice to undertake a trip to Shetland where she had never been before and asked to carry the items that were recovered from her,” he said.

Jailing her for four years, Sheriff Graeme Napier said that Cartwright was “probably one of the most prolific drug dealers I have had to deal with”.

Meanwhile a Lerwick man who persuaded the court that he had been carrying drugs in his jumper pocket that did not belong to him, escaped a prison sentence.

Michael Swannie, aged 39, of 89 St Olaf Street, Lerwick, admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin at Jamieson’s Quay, Aberdeen, on 1 April last year.

The court heard a friend had offered him a free return trip on the NorthLink freight boat to the city to see his 18 year old daughter in the city. When they had gone to the pub together a drug dealer had placed heroin intended for his friend in his pocket.

Defence agent Andrew Ormiston said Swannie forgot the drugs were there until he was stopped by police acting on a tip off.

“I can appreciate it’s hard to swallow the explanation but that’s Mr Swannie’s position and the Crown accepts it,” Mr Ormiston said.

Sheriff Napier placed Swannie on a drug treatment and testing order that will require him to appear in court every month for the next year for it to be reviewed. Any failure to comply will land him in jail, the sheriff said.