A 21-year-old student was caught with £10,500 worth of cocaine and cannabis after a Christmas Eve train journey has been spared jail.
Police stopped Marcus Long and Darren Stewart after receiving a tip-off.
Officers searched Stewart’s car in Bank Street, Inverness and discovered 60 grams of cocaine and 450 grams of cannabis in a holdall.
They also found £900 in Long’s possession and a CS gas canister belonging to Stewart.
Stewart was previously jailed for his part in the crime, and Long appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court today for sentencing after previously admitting being concerned in the supply of drugs.
But Sheriff Gary Aitken decided against a custodial sentence for Long, who is originally from Wick, after hearing he has since turned his back on drugs and friends associated with that life, instead focusing on the final year of an honours degree at an Edinburgh university.
Defence solicitor Graham Mann urged Sheriff Aitken to treat his client differently from some other offenders, adding: “He seems to have straightened himself out and is in the final stages of his education at a well-respected university. This shows application and determination.”
The sheriff told Long, of Dundee Street, Edinburgh, that if he had not taken these steps, he would be going to jail. Instead, he imposed 150 hours of unpaid work.
He added: “I sincerely hope I will never see you again, you get your degree and get on with your life.”
At a previous hearing the court was told that Long had travelled north from Edinburgh on a train in December 2018, and then met up with 22-year-old Stewart, from Grantown-on-Spey.
The pair drove to Inverness but were stopped by police.
Fiscal depute Karen Aitken said police examined train CCTV footage showing both men with Long having the holdall for the duration of the journey.
Sheriff Aitken also forfeited the £900 seized in the search of the car.