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Drug dealer claimed oil downturn to blame for spiral into criminality

The High Court in Glasgow.
The High Court in Glasgow.

An offshore worker turned drug dealer yesterday blamed the oil downturn for his spiral down into criminality.

Ian Matthews was said to have been a “recreational user” of illicit substances while enjoying a highly paid north sea job.

But after being laid-off in 2017 and hitting money trouble, The High Court in Glasgow heard he had become involved in a major drug dealing enterprise.


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The court was told that as his debts spiralled out of control, he agreed to transport a package of drugs for unnamed parties.

He was spotted by police as he attempted to hand a package containing £200,000 worth of cocaine to “stranger” Thomas Cairns in Glasgow’s Tollcross in July this year.

The cocaine was found to have a purity as high as 82%.

The 37-year-old now faces a jail-term after he admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

Cairns, 54, of Tollcross, also pled guilty to the same charge.

The pair were remanded in custody pending sentencing next month.

Lord Burns was told Matthews, of Paisley in Renfrewshire, had been seen pulling-up in an Audi car before handing a bag to Cairns, who initially had been chatting on his phone.

Cairns was stopped outside his nearby flat minutes later and the cocaine found wrapped in a number of individual packages inside the bag.

Police subsequently seized a number of drug-related items from Cairns’ home including cash, scales and ‘tick” lists and Matthews was later held, but made no comment.

His lawyer yesterday said Matthews “had no previous connection” to Cairns or any links to where the handover occurred.

Jennifer Bain, defending, said: “He was employed offshore from 2002 until 2017.

“At the time, he was a recreational user of cocaine. He then lost his job at the downturn of the oil price.

“His habit continued with no income to pay for it. His debt level then spiralled out of control.

“He was asked to deliver a package and told he would receive a payment towards his debt.”

Lord Burns deferred sentence for reports.

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