A drug courier caught with nearly £100,000 worth of high purity cocaine punched the air with joy after he was jailed for just 13 months.
Gareth Hughes, 49, was stopped with nearly a quarter of a kilo of the class A drug on his way to deliver it to the village of Scone.
The jobless courier was caught red-handed with the drugs and a bank statement showing he was being paid £3,000 for delivering the haul north of the border.
Sheriff George Way said: “He makes no bones about it – and that is to his credit – that he accepts he was couriering class A drugs.
“No one is suggesting he is a ‘player’ but the chain links all have to bind together. Every link in the chain has to be in place for drugs to successfully reach the streets.
“He knew perfectly well he was a chain link in the supply of cocaine that would end up on the streets and everyone knows the consequences of that.
“Part of the difficulty with the courier situation is that the very people who are targeted are those that might be under the radar because of the kind of person they are.”
Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Hughes was a family man who led a pro-social life and had a very limited prior criminal record.
The court was told that he was hiding his conviction and prison sentence from his seven-year-old son because he was ashamed of his behaviour.
Solicitor David Holmes, defending, said: “He is thoroughly ashamed and disgusted and embarrassed about his behaviour and didn’t really understand the consequences.”
Mr Holmes said Hughes had a debt and those he owed the money to had come to his home and made threats against his family.
He then agreed to drive the cocaine to an underworld figure based in Scone on June 6 last year and was paid almost £3,000 according to the statement found by police.
Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson said: “Police stopped the accused in a car on the M90 northbound as they had intelligence there were controlled drugs within the vehicle and he was carrying them on behalf of a named individual in Scone.
“The car was searched. A box containing white powder was found behind the front passenger seat. It was confirmed to be 249.6 grams of cocaine of 77 per cent purity. Scales with traces of cocaine were also found in a golf bag and a bank statement showed the accused had been paid £2,980 over a month by the named individual.”
She told the court that if the cocaine was cut with other substances and sold in individual street deals it could be worth as much as £95,850.
Hughes, of Minerva Street, Huddersfield, admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine near Bridge of Earn on June 6 2019.