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Court / Eagle-eyed prison staff foil drug smuggling attempt

TWO men, one from Shetland, the other from Aberdeen, have been jailed for their roles in trying to smuggle drugs into Grampian prison – inside a packet of crisps.

Darren Walsh, 54, attempted to sneak cocaine and cannabis resin into the jail by putting it in a crisp packet during a visit with John Hutcheson, 31, on August 11 2019.

However, the plot was foiled by eagle-eyed staff who seized the drugs, worth £845.

Walsh, of Balgownie Way, Aberdeen, pled guilty to charges of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and cannabis.

Hutcheson, of Grindahoul, Brae, admitted attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to swallow the package of drugs.

The case had been adjourned for reports but the pair have now appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to be sentenced.

Defence agent Iain Hingston, representing Walsh, said neither accused had stood to gain anything from the offence, which had been in an effort to “assist” a friend in a “predicament”. He said Walsh had expressed “contrition”.

Tommy Allan, representing Hutcheson, said issues with alcohol and drugs were behind the majority of his client’s offending.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin ordered Walsh and Hutcheson to be jailed for 12 months.

Fiscal depute Christy Ward previously told the court that prior to meeting Hutcheson, Walsh spent a “substantial amount of time” in the prison toilet before buying crisps from a vending machine.

She added: “During the visit, the two conversed with each other and shared the crisps.“

After about half an hour, Walsh put his hand into one of the crisp packets for a prolonged period of time and appeared to be putting something inside it.

“He then passed the packet to Hutcheson, who took a plastic wrap from within the crisp packet and attempted to put it inside his pocket.”

On being challenged by staff, Hutcheson attempted to swallow the wrap of drugs, but was unable to due to its size.

He was removed from the visiting room and ordered to spit out the drugs. The cocaine was valued at £800 and the cannabis resin £45.

Court report by John Jeffay of Cascade News