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Courier jailed for bringing £33k of cannabis into isles

A DRUGS courier from Devon who took cannabis resin estimated to be worth over £33,000 into Shetland has been sent to prison for nearly two years.

Police stopped Jamie Southgate, of Chandlers Height, Shadycombe Road, Salcombe, as he disembarked the overnight NorthLink ferry in Lerwick on the morning of 5 September.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that police, acting on intelligence, stopped the 42 year old while he was driving a van before searching the vehicle.

They discovered 48 blocks of cannabis resin that weighed in at around 4.8kg in total.

Broken down into its smallest sellable amounts, the drugs could have a combined street value of as much as £33,600, Mackenzie said.

“It is accepted that he was acting purely as a courier, as the delivery man,” the fiscal added.

At the time of the offence there was an “organised crime group” from the south of England targeting Shetland, Mackenzie said, and there may have been an “element of coercion” involved.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said that his client had been left by himself to take the trip north after another man jumped out of the van and fled while it was waiting to board the ferry in Aberdeen.

The solicitor added that “shock” was evident on Southgate’s face when he was told about the amount of drugs involved during a police interview.

He was “simply a foot soldier” in the operation, Allan said, suggesting that he had been taken advantage of.

Allan added that his client’s life had been in a “chaotic state” and he had historical problems with drug misuse.

Sheriff Kevin Veal ruled that the “quantity and potential value” of the drugs was significant. He sent him to jail for 20 months.