Three men linked to serious organised crime have been jailed for more than 20 years for dealing heroin and cocaine.
Mark Simpson, 47, Steven Vidgen, 38, and Lee Wallace, 39, were found with class A drugs worth more than £100,000 in Aberdeen.
Police raided a property on Hutcheon Court on July 22, 2016, and arrested the men. The arrests followed a covert surveillance operation which recorded Vidgen and Wallace selling drugs at a city park.
The court heard Simpson, of London, directed the drugs operation in Aberdeen, providing instructions to Wallace and Vidgen, both of Aberdeen, on selling the heroin and crack cocaine.
The three men pleaded guilty to two counts of being involved in the supply of class A drugs, charges which were aggravated by connection with serious organised crime.
Another man, Robert Bell, was bringing drugs to the flat at the same time as the police raid and was also arrested.
He was jailed for six years in November 2016 after he admitted two charges of being involved in the supply of drugs.
Simpson was jailed for eight-and-a-half-years at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, while Wallace and Vidgen received sentences of six-and-a-half and five-and-a-half-years respectively.
Graham Robertson, Vidgen’s solicitor, said his client had been a drug user for more than 20 years and his life had been “in ruins” when he sought out employment as a drug runner, taking drugs from a safe house to users.
He added: “He was given free accommodation and free food, and drugs as well. No money at all.”
Procurator Fiscal for homicide and major crime Nicky Patrick said: “This case demonstrates our commitment to prosecuting those who bring harmful drugs into our communities.”
Detective Constable Lewis Murray said: “The drugs recovered were ultimately destined for the streets of the North-east where they would only spread misery and leave harm behind.
“By taking the drugs out of circulation and putting the offenders to court we hope this serves as a reminder that we are committed to tackling the illegal supply of drugs and do so every day.
“We rely on our communities to work with us and report any concerns they have to us. We know that drug dealers from cities across the country come to the North-east for the purpose of dealing drugs and we are urging people to be aware of the signs that someone who may be seen as an easy target is being used for this purpose.”
Detective Inspector Allen Shaw added: “We will continue to target those who exploit vulnerable people and use their homes to store or deal drugs, known as ‘cuckooing’.
“We are urging people to be aware of the warning signs that such activity may be happening in your neighbourhood and report any concerns to us. In particular you may have noticed new associates or increased visitors at a particular house, or an increased number of vehicles outside a property including taxis or hire cars. If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t so report it.”