Drugs crackdown at Saughton prison leads to arrests

Police have cracked down on drug mules. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Police have cracked down on drug mules. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MAJOR crackdown on prison drug mules in the Capital has led to a string of arrests.

City police and prison officers have been working together on a long-standing drive to prevent illegal substances entering HMP Edinburgh.

Officers launched a raid at the gates of Saughton after receiving a tip-off that prison visitors were driving there in cars used for criminal activity. Other vehicles were suspected of not being roadworthy.

Police checked 85 vehicles on Friday, April 24 and Friday, May 1 – detecting a range of criminal offences including drug possession.

A 27-year-old man was arrested and charged for driving while disqualified, while a 47-year-old man was arrested and charged for intent to supply controlled substances.

Two men and a woman, aged 31, 36 and 44, were also arrested on outstanding warrants.

Six people were searched under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971), and three men aged 19, 22 and 48 were reported to the procurator fiscal for possession of class A and B drugs.

In addition, a range of traffic offences were also detected by police over the two days.

A total of four motorists were reported to the procurator fiscal for driving while using a mobile phone, while a further two drivers were reported for not having insurance.

One person was caught driving on a provisional licence, and another was reported for overloading a vehicle.

Two cars were impounded, two people were issued with warnings for not wearing seatbelts and one driver was handed a prohibition notice for defects in his car.

Inspector Bob Innes said the results were a great example of the joint work between Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service to disrupt criminals – including gangsters – who are associated with inmates at Saughton.

He said: “This latest phase of Operation Avocation is focused on preventing contraband from entering the prison and ensuring the safety of road users in Edinburgh by detecting and intercepting those involved in criminality which are intending to enter the prison grounds.

“As a result of intelligence gathered, ourselves and partners from HMP Edinburgh conducted road checks which led to five people being arrested and 11 people reported to the procurator fiscal for drug charges and driving offences, which put other road users and members of the public at risk.”

Annette Dryburgh, head of operations at Saughton, said: “HMP Edinburgh are committed and proud of our collaboration with Police Scotland in preventing and detecting crime. We recognise that this partnership working is vital to ensure the safety of those within our establishment and the wider community.”

Police detected a range of motoring offences at a similar day of action last year.

A man was found to be in possession of diazepam and a legal high substance, both of which had been intended for an inmate.

In 2013, defence solicitor David Blair Wilson was sentenced to four years after being found guilty of attempting to distribute drugs, mobile phones and other accessories to inmates.