A woman caught dealing drugs for the third time has been spared jail at Inverness Sheriff Court.
Police officers spotted Stacey Wallace appearing to conceal something down the back of a couch as they executed a warrant at her home.
A subsequent search of the property turned up three types of drug – gabapentinoids, clonazepam and alprazolam, also known as Xanax.
Wallace, 33, appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court for sentencing having previously admitted three charges of being concerned in the supply of class C drugs.
Fiscal depute Grant McLennan told the court that on February 17 2022 police officers had attended at Wallace’s then home in Briargrove Terrace to execute a warrant.
When they entered through an unlocked front door they found Wallace in the living area, sitting on a couch.
“They observed Miss Wallace place her hands down the back of the couch as if concealing an item there,” Mr McLennan told Sheriff Gary Aitken.
Search found drugs and scales
A search of the property was then carried out and various items, including scales and a bag containing a quantity of tablets, were seized.
Solicitor Graham Mann, for Wallace, said his client accepted that the offences were of a serious nature.
He said Wallace’s mental health had previously been “tied quite closely to the issues with substance misuse” but that she had since experienced “positive change in her life”.
Third conviction for drug dealing
Handing down a community payback order requiring Wallace to complete 160 hours of unpaid work within 18 months Sheriff Aitken said: “It would appear that you have now realised the difficulties that you were putting yourself in.
“It shouldn’t take a third conviction for drug dealing for the penny to drop.”
He continued: “I’m prepared to deal with matters by a community payback order, which will hopefully allow you to maintain the progress you have made in the community.”
The sheriff warned Wallace, of Parkfield View, Slackbuie: “Any similar offending of this kind and there would be no option other than a custodial sentence.”