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Police / Police chief suggests dealers may be getting the message as amount of drugs seized ‘levels off’

Photo: Shetland News

THE AMOUNT of drugs seized in Shetland has “levelled off” in recent months – with Shetland’s police chief suggesting some dealers may be put off from sending substances north due to success in detections.

But despite this chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said the value of drugs seized in Shetland since the start of last year is in excess of £900,000.

Chairman of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board Allison Duncan said he felt the local situation with drugs was now an “epidemic”.

He also said Dogs Against Drugs – which helps with detections in Shetland – was facing a £20,000 shortfall this year, which could rise in the future – and called for more funding and sponsorship for the charity.

A meeting of the board heard on Monday that there was also an increase in drugs being intercepted in the postal system in advance of this summer’s Tall Ships event, which saw many people flock to the isles.

Clemenson also reiterated that all types of substances are seized by the Dogs Against Drugs team, not just cannabis.

He said the class B drug is a regularly intercepted but the value is low, unlike class A substances heroin and cocaine, which are often seized.

The meeting heard that most drug seizures include the involvement of dogs.

The chief inspector told Monday’s meeting that around £270,000 to £280,000 worth of drugs were seized in 2022 and the first two thirds of this year was very busy in comparison.

But Clemenson said things have levelled off in the last few months, with “very little” drugs seized in October and November.

He said there would be a variety of reasons for this.

But the police chief suggested that in his view some dealers were perhaps getting the message not to send drugs to Shetland because there is ongoing proactive work to combat supply.

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He said the prospect of losing a batch of drugs in Shetland to police worth thousands would be a “real financial hit” for dealers.

The chief inspector said there was a knock-on effect where people would be buying lesser quality drugs.

Clemenson was also asked if there are powerful synthetic opioids coming into Shetland.

He said generally the most serious drug coming into Shetland is heroin, but that can be mixed with other substances.

Councillor Duncan added that it was “vital” for Dogs Against Drugs to continue in Shetland.

In previous months the Dogs Against Drugs team have reached out to visiting Scottish politicians on the funding situation.

Clemenson said without the charity there would be much less drug detections in Shetland – as much as an 80 or 90 per cent drop.

He added that in this instance Police Scotland drugs dogs could be drafted in to visit Shetland but they would not come to the isles very often.

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