Drug dealer blames Universal Credit delay after Fife arrest

A CRIMINAL released early from jail on a tag got involved in drug supply ring after being told it would take two-and-a-half months before he would be given benefits by Universal Credit bosses.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 2:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 3:25 pm
Dundee Sheriff Court heard Burns had £9360 of heroin.

Steven Burns walked free from Perth Prison last October on a home detention curfew tag following an earlier prison sentence.

He applied for Universal Credit benefits to support his partner and their two young children – one of whom is disabled – but was told it would take 10 weeks before he would get any money.

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Burns was then invited by an associate to take part in a drug couriering operation to make cash.

He is now starting a two-and-a-half year jail term after being caught red handed with more than £9000 worth of heroin in north-east Fife on October 30 last year.

Fiscal depute Stewart Duncan told Dundee Sheriff Court: “A full search of the car found a bag containing other bags within.

“It contained brown powder which when tested was found to be heroin.

“The total maximum illicit value is said to be £9360.

“Text messages were found on his phone which showed constant dialogue about a drug delivery.”

Burns (26) a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to being concerned in the supply of drugs between October 24 and October 30 2018 on the A92 in north-east Fife.

Defence solicitor Jane Caird said Burns was a father-of-two whose oldest son has serious health problems.

She said: “His main role in the family is caring for their younger child while his partner sees to the older one.

“She is struggling as carer for both of them now.

“He was liberated from prison in October 2018 and advises he made an application for Universal Credit.

“He was told he wouldn’t receve any funds for around 10 weeks.

“He had no income and was given the opportunity to take part in this to make some money for his family.

“He realises the catastrophic effect this will have on them now.”

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Burns for 30 months – reduced from 45 for his early guilty plea.

He said: “This offence has had a catastrophic effect on your family.

“Heroin has a catastrophic effect on Dundee and Angus – and I have to take that into account as well.

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