A drug trafficker who ran into the North Sea in a bid to evade justice has been jailed for more than five-and-a-half years.
Kevin Ritchie, 45, tore into packets filled with brown and white powder, scattering the contents in the waves as police officers closed in.
They suspected he’d been concerned in the supply on illicit drugs and had attempted to corner him in an area known as Maggie Black’s Trail in Peterhead on June 2.
He made off on a bicycle after spotting officers, however, and travelled a short distance before vaulting a fence, crossing the beach and entering the water.
The contents of the packages could not be recovered but the High Court in Edinburgh heard he had then been caught with more than £300 worth of heroin the following day.
Advocate depute Derick Nelson said: “There was intelligence the accused had access to a stash site containing controlled drugs in the area.”
The officers lost sight of Ritchie but alerted colleagues in the vicinity and detectives spotted him on a footpath.
Mr Nelson said that when Ritchie saw them he quickly turned round and went in the opposite direction.
The prosecutor said: “The accused thereafter dismounted his bicycle and jumped over railings onto a nearby beach area. He then began running at speed towards the North Sea.”
“The accused took off a pair of black gloves and entered the water up to his waist.
“He then removed a number of packages from his jacket and ripped them open with his teeth, scattering the contents in to the sea.”
“The officers noted that the packaging appeared to contain brown and white powder.
“The accused threw the packaging into the water before turning around and walking towards the officers.
Ritchie, who has previous convictions for trafficking Class A drugs, was taken to Peterhead police station and searched but no further drugs were found in his possession.
One of the discarded packages was recovered and was found to have heroin residue on a knot in the plastic.
Ritchie was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and was released from custody.
But officers on patrol on North Street, in Peterhead, spotted him on the morning of June 3 when he went into an alleyway. He was detained for a search.
He was found in possession of four mobile phones and a pair of gloves he was wearing when first seen were recovered in the alleyway. Inside the gloves were two small plastic tubes containing multiple wraps of heroin.
Ritchie told officers: “That’s not mine. I can’t get done for this again. I’ll get put away for seven years with my past. This is a set up.”
Ritchie, who followed proceedings via a video link to Grampian prison, pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin on June 3 and attempting to pervert the course of justice on June 2.
The court heard Ritchie had a long term problem with drugs and this had caused him to develop “a fairly lengthy schedule of previous convictions”.
Judge Simon Collins QC jailed Ritchie for five years and 219 days.