Two drug traffickers who were caught transporting heroin worth £140,000 to Shetland were each jailed for three years and nine months when appearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
Police in the isles recovered a kilo of the Class A drug hidden in flasks along with a quantity of a substance commonly used to cut the narcotic.
The court heard that Jabran Ali and William Richardson, who were travelling with Allan Stewart, had aroused suspicion even before they arrived in the islands.
A judge told 25-year old Ali and Richardson 31-year old: “The damage which heroin does to individual lives and society as a whole is well-known and you obviously cared nothing about that.”
Lord Uist told the pair that they would have faced five year prison terms but for their earlier guilty pleas.
He said it was obvious that both, along with Stewart, had taken the drug to Shetland for “onward distribution”.
The judge said he noted that Ali’s previous convictions included drug offences and that Richardson had previously been fined £10,000 over the supply of amphetamine in 2010 although the penalty has not yet been fully paid.
Lord Uist said it was sad to see someone, such as Richardson, who had built up a successful construction business, appearing in the court.
But he added: “You have only yourself to blame for your present predicament.”
The co-accused travelled by ferry from Aberdeen arriving in Lerwick on Hogmanay but had come to the attention of staff on the boat.
Advocate depute David Taylor said police had stopped their Volkswagen Passat in the village of Voe.
He said: “The accused Jabran Ali was driving the car. When the officers spoke with him he appeared nervous and his hands were shaking.”
He added that when police then turned to speak to Richardson and Stewart they also seemed nervous.
Taylor said: “Ali and Richardson said that they were visiting girlfriends who live in Lerwick. The police were suspicious of this, as the accused had driven 18 miles in the opposite direction to Lerwick.”
“They could not provide the girlfriends’ full names or addresses,” he added.
They were asked to provide their names, which were found not to match those used on ferry travel documents seen in the car.
All three were detained, and in the boot of the car officers found a holdall belonging to Richardson, which contained a bag of white powder.
Richardson claimed it was a protein powder, but analysis revealed it was a mixture of caffeine and paracetamol, which is commonly used to bulk out heroin.
Another holdall was found inside the car, which held thermos flasks containing four packages of heroin totaling just over a kilo.
Taylor said the heroin could be bought wholesale for about £25,000 but could be worth as much as £140,000 in street deals.
Ali a shop assistant, of Auchenbothie Crescent, Robroyston, and self-employed joiner Richardson of Parkbrae Way, Maryhill, Glasgow, both earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin on 31 December last year at Voe while acting with Stewart.
The Crown accepted Ali’s not guilty plea to a charge of possessing an offensive weapon, a knuckleduster.
Stewart, aged 33, of Langa Grove, Maryhill, in Glasgow, was jailed for three years and eight months earlier this year after previously admitting being concerned in the supply of heroin in Shetland.
The court heard that all three had booked their ferry travel under assumed names and Ali had bought the tickets for £461 in cash.