A drug dealer was caught with a £2,400 bag of pills following an undercover police operation at a Perthshire branch of Subway.
Detectives received a tip-off that the fast food restaurant on the A9 at Balhaldie, north of Dunblane, was being used as a meeting place for those involved in Tayside’s drug trade.
The roadside diner was kept under surveillance by Police Scotland as part of an organised crime probe, Perth Sheriff Court was told on Wednesday.
In October 2019, officers swooped on John Jackson after he was spotted sitting in a car outside, holding a suspect carrier bag.
It was found to contain a knotted plastic bag with thousands of white pills.
Trade supported ‘prostitute’ family member
Jackson, of Kenley Road, Renfrew, appeared in the dock and admitted being concerned in the supply of class-C drug Etizolam.
The 66-year-old was spared a jail sentence and instead placed on a restriction of liberty curfew for 10 months, meaning he can’t leave his home between 7pm and 7am.
He was also placed on a supervision order for 20 months.
A solicitor for Jackson told the court that he got involved in the drug deal at Subway to support a family member who is a drug addict and has fallen into a life of crime, including prostitution.
“These tablets were to help her with her addiction,” he said.
Fiscal depute Sean Maher said that Police Scotland was monitoring the Subway branch after receiving intelligence about its use by drug dealers.
“During the operation, Mr Jackson was seen sitting in a black Volkswagen car, with another passenger.
“He was in possession of a white carrier bag.
“The contents were analysed and found to contain 4,863 tablets, with a street value of £2,431.”
Sheriff Craig McSherry was urged not to send Jackson to prison, because of his lack of recent offending.
The court also heard that he suffered from significant health problems.
Sheriff McSherry told Jackson that his community payback sentence had been imposed as a direct alternative to custody.
What is Etizolam?
Etizolam was made a class C drug in May 2017, following its growing popularity as a new psychoactive substance in the UK and Europe.
Classed as a depressant and legally prescribed in other countries such as Italy and Japan, the Valium-style drug can be lethal if mixed with heroin or methadone.