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Highland Life / News / Northern Constabulary News / Black Isle Drug Dealers - Roy Thomas & Others

Black Isle Drug Dealers - Roy Thomas & Others

Issued: 21 Feb 2007


NORTHERN Constabulary today welcomed the sentences handed out to individuals who were involved in the supply of heroin in the Black Isle area of the Highlands.

Today, at Edinburgh High Court, Roy Thomas, Craig Lee and Ian MacDougall were sentenced to a total of 15 years and four months for their part in the supply of illegal drugs through an organised network.

Thomas received a six-year sentence, Lee four and a half years and MacDougall four years and 10 months.

This is latest success in relation to Ross, Cromarty and Skye Area Command's Operation Éclair.

The operation produced a number of other cases in which two individuals, David Cormack and Martin Reid were sentenced to a combined total of nine years and eight months (six years four months for Cormack �two separate cases; three years four months for Reid).

As a result Operation Éclair is now responsible for the arrest and conviction of five people who have received a total of 25 years imprisonment.

Detective Inspector Gus MacPherson, based at Dingwall, said: "There is no doubt that we have disrupted a significant, organised criminal group, whose activities undoubtedly introduced individuals to the misery and problems associated with heroin misuse."

Operation Éclair began in August 2005 as a result of increased information regarding the availability and supply of heroin throughout the Black Isle area.

It was evident that many of the individuals who had developed heroin habits had come from good, stable family backgrounds and did not fit the perception that the general public perhaps holds of heroin users.

DI MacPherson said: "It was clear from an early stage that Roy Thomas had masterminded this supply chain and had others working for him."

The first significant breakthrough in the operation was on 22 September 2005 when David Cormack from Avoch was detained at Inverness bus station in possession of £4,000 of heroin.

On 4 April 2006 Cormack pled guilty at Inverness Sheriff Court and was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

The operation progressed with a small team of detectives, who were based in Dingwall. They interviewed individuals who were identified as being heroin users and who were also linked to Thomas and his associates.

DI MacPherson added: "At an early stage in this operation we identified a number of individuals who we believed were sourcing heroin from this group on a regular basis.

"I held discussions with the Procurator Fiscal in Dingwall, Roderick Urquhart, where agreement was reached that these individuals would be treated as witnesses."

"I was heartened at how anxious these people were to assist us and got the impression that there was a sense of relief that the Police were involved and were actively targeting the drug suppliers."

When interviewed by the Procurator Fiscal, witnesses re-iterated the accounts given to Police, some describing how they had made repeated attempts to come off heroin but had been tempted again by offers made by Thomas and his associates.

Many had spent thousands of pounds on their habits.

On Friday 24 March 2006 the Police operation moved on to the searching of houses and the detention of suspects.

As a result of this activity, Roy Thomas, David Cormack, Martin Reid and Craig Lee were detained and subsequently arrested for their involvement in the supply of heroin.

On 25 May, 2006, Ian Andrew MacDougall from Buckie was detained and subsequently arrested for his part in supplying heroin to Thomas and his associates.

On 9 November 2006 Cormack and Reid pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin. Both were given sentences of 3 years and 4 months each (This sentence for Cormack was in addition to the three years he had previously been given for possessing £4,000 of heroin).

Superintendent John Darcy, Area Commander for Ross, Cromarty & Skye, said: "I am delighted at the success of Operation Éclair. This is down to the dedication and tenacity of a small group of detectives assisted by many colleagues, together with the excellent co-operation from members of the public and other parents living in the Black Isle.

"The targeting of those involved in the supply of controlled drugs is a strategic priority for Northern Constabulary and this operation, together with many significant recent seizures of heroin throughout the Force, demonstrates the successes we can have.

"I am not naive enough to think that we have cleared the Black Isle area of drug abuse and, indeed, we continue to actively target drug dealers across the Command Area."

He concIuded: "I would publicly like to thank my officers for the dedication and professionalism they demonstrated throughout this operation and the support and assistance we have received from the public throughout.

"Communities in Ross, Cromarty & Skye have my assurance that we will continue to work tirelessly to identify and disrupt those involved at all levels in the use and supply of controlled drugs."

Police would urge anyone with information about drug dealing or other drug related activity to contact their nearest station or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme