Drugs plan foiled by posties

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A man who tried to import a cannabis stash into the UK by having it posted to him from India has avoided a jail term.

Alexander Murray tried to have the package delivered to his parents’ upmarket £500,000 golf course home in north-east Fife - only for it to be intercepted by Royal Mail staff.

The case comes two weeks after the National Crime Agency revealed more than 300 consignments of drugs had been stopped by their staff after crooks had tried to have them sent in the mail from China and India.

Another 150 packages containing weapons, including stun guns, pistols, swords and “death stars” have also been intercepted.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard that Murray, an engineering student, has had his promising career left in tatters by the case.

The court heard Murray had “given up” receiving the class B drug package at his home by the Drumoig champsionship golf course in Fife, not realising that it had been seized by customs as it entered the country.

Depute fiscal Mohammed Sadiq said a customs official in Coventry intercepted a package addressed to Murray which contained 120 grams of a green herbal substance, later identified as cannabis, valued at £1205.

After obtaining a search warrant of Murray’s home, officers discovered a further 0.5g of the drug.

Murray (21), of Craigie Hill, Drumoig, admitted being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on importation of a contolled drug, namely cannabis, on March 16.

He also admitted possessing cannabis at his home on May 5.

Defence solicitor Jim Caird branded the failed venture a “complete disaster” as the drug conviction will affect his ability to travel abroad in the future.

He said: “He seems to have entered into an isolated place and thought it would be a good idea to purchase drugs in this fashion. He paid £600 for the drug.

“When the police came to the door he fully cooperated.

“His life has been badly affected by this. All of the jobs in engineering are corporate jobs. He had a holiday to the States but had to give up his air ticket, so it’s a complete disaster.

“There is naivety involved and he is very unlikely to appear before the court again.

“He has a good background and has never been in any kind of trouble before. His father works in Dubai and has come home for the day to see this. His father is extremely angry about this.”

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro sentenced Murray to 160 hours of unpaid work on a community payback order, and told him: “This will not be pleasant for you. You will be mixing with the sort of people you normally wouldn’t.

“But if you are stupid enough to take drugs, these are the people you will mix with.”

John McGowan, senior investigating officer for the NCA in Scotland, said: “It’s a high-risk tactic to choose. The NCA works very closely with its partners in Border Force to intercept illegal consignments.

“Where we have actionable intelligence, the NCA or Police Scotland will follow it.”

Prescription drugs like diazepam, herbal cannabis, and new psychoactive substances – also known as “legal highs” – are among the mind-altering materials seized but police also stopped cocaine, crack cocaine, MDMA and ecstasy from potentially ruining lives.

One single package recovered 7200 steroid tablets, while another contained three kilograms of herbal cannabis which holds a potential street value of £10,000. Most bizarrely, one interception saw 360 grams of cannabis chocolate seized.

The weapons hauls also include a revolver, a semi-automatic rifle, “realistic imitation firearms”, gun parts, pepper and CS spray, nun chucks and 500 rounds of rifle ammunition.

The agency also prevented flick knives, butterfly knives and an automatic stiletto knife from making their way into potentially dangerous hands.