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News / Spike in number of drug offenders caught

Shetland's chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetnews

LOCAL police charged “significantly more” people for drugs offences in the last year than the previous 12 months, according to chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch.

On Monday police warned the public of “travelling drug dealers” that have been using guesthouses in Shetland as locations for trading illegal substances.

They stated the dealers are often coming from the central belt and the northwest of England, and locals are being encouraged to report any suspicious behaviour.

Lerwick Sheriff Court, meanwhile, continues to regularly sentence people for bringing drugs into the isles on the NorthLink ferry from Aberdeen.

Chief inspector Tulloch said the local force had seen a big increase over the last year in the amount of people ensnared for drugs offences.

This proves there is a “strong market” for drugs in the isles – something Tulloch’s team is trying to clamp down on by collaborating with staff on the Scottish mainland to catch people before they take the trip north.

“Every community in Scotland is affected by drugs misuse, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“There is evidence that there is a strong drugs market here in Shetland, because we’ve charged quite a number of people with possession and supply charges – significantly more than we have last year.

“So to me, that gives an indication that drugs is prevalent in the community and that we need to do something to try to stem that and disrupt the sale of drugs in the community.”

The police work locally with the Dogs Against Drugs project, for example, as well as their colleagues on the mainland.

However, Tulloch wants the Shetland police force to maintain links with other agencies in Scotland and elsewhere to ensure the supply of drugs into the isles is kept at bay.

“I would like to think [our policies are working], because the numbers we’ve caught and we’ve stopped has increased, compared to the numbers last year.

“But I’d like to make sure we’re working in partnership with other agencies to ensure that we can turn around the use of drugs in Shetland, and reduce it, so there’s not such as strong market and people will stop targeting Shetland.”

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