A plot to flood Shetland with cheap heroin to open up a new market was foiled by police, a court has heard.
Courier James Farrell, 43, was jailed for five years and three months after being caught with £25,000 of the drug.
Police in Shetland had intelligence that a significant criminal syndicate in Liverpool had identified the area as a lucrative market for their heroin.
Farrell, from Liverpool, admitted supplying heroin when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Advocate depute James Wolffe QC told the court: "Farrell was one of a number of males tasked to bring quantities of heroin into Shetland in order to flood the islands with the drug.
"This heroin was to be distributed cheaply in order to capture this new market.
"Intelligence-led police operations have so far frustrated the attempts of these organised criminals to flood Shetland with heroin."
The advocate depute added: "But this represents a significant new threat to an island community."
Defence counsel Mark Strachan said Farrell was "a lifelong heroin user" and had run up a substantial drug debt in Liverpool.
He said: "He was approached with the offer of taking this package of drugs to the islands and that would thereafter clear his debt."
Lord Brodie told heroin addict Farrell that he would have faced a seven-year jail sentence for the offence, but for his guilty plea.
The judge told him: "I take into account that you are part of what the Crown has identified as a recent enterprise to supply these drugs into Shetland."
Lord Brodie said he accepted that Farrell did not stand to make a profit from the drug trafficking.
However the judge added: "You were essentially being used by others who would make a profit.
"As is all too common the people who come before the courts are not really those responsible for the trade in drugs. Nevertheless, if it was not for people like you the trade in drugs would be much more difficult to achieve."
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