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Drug dealer caught by DNA on airbag after pranging car

Dundee Sheriff Court
Dundee Sheriff Court

A heroin dealer snared after his DNA was found on the airbag of a car he’d crashed at a busy junction before running off has been jailed for almost three-and-a-half years.

Neil Phinn pranged a friend’s motor on Balgillo Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee – and ran off leaving behind a bag stuffed with brown powder, later found to be diamorphine.

Police found DNA on the airbag that led them to the repeat offender – who previously served a four year jail term for being concerned in the supply of drugs.

A sheriff told him the fact that drug deaths in Dundee were running at one a week – mostly down to heroin – had to be taken into account and jailed him for three years five months.

Fiscal depute Laura Bruce told Dundee Sheriff Court: “Around 7pm on this date the accused was driving and was involved in a collision with another vehicle.

“The airbag in his car deployed and both vehicles came to a halt.

“A witness saw the collision and went to assist and saw the accused leave the car.

“A bag of brown substance was seen in the front passenger footwell.

“At this time police were contacted and the bag was seized.

“The owner of the vehicle was contacted and said the accused had access to it.

“The vehicle was recovered and forensically examined.

“DNA was found on the airbag which matched the accused.

“The bag of brown substance was examined and found to be a plastic bag containing brown powder which contained diamorphine.

“It was 26.88 grams with a maximum value of £2688.”

Phinn, 37, of Happyhillock Walk, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of being concerned in the supply of drugs on June 27 2017.

Defence solicitor Jim Caird said: “He has managed for the last ten years to largely stay out of trouble by not taking illicit drugs.

“He is well aware of the seriousness of this matter given his previous convictions.

“He was drawn back in to taking drugs and was essentially couriering this package.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown jailed Phinn for three years and five months.

He said: “In 2017 51 people in Dundee died as a result of drugs.

“The drug which was principally involved in that was heroin, the drug you were transporting.

“I regard the very serious nature of the drug problem in Dundee – worse in terms of deaths than any other local authority area – as a significant aggravation.”

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