Inmate caught with £1200 of cannabis at Polmont YOI

An offender said he was keeping over “500 Valium tablets” and some cannabis in his cell after he and his family had been threatened into it by individuals in a “powerful position”

By Court Reporter
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 3:17 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 5:59 pm

Neilson Harris (22) appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court today having pleaded guilty to possession of drugs – cannabis and Valium – with intent to supply at Polmont Young Offender’s Institution on March 5 last year.

Danielle McDonald, procurator fiscal depute, said: “It was 3.45pm and a call was received the accused may be in possession of controlled drugs in Polmont YOI. Police attended to relocate the accused to a segregation unit.

"While in the unit he got upset and told officers there were drugs in his cell under his mattress. He told them there were more than 500 Valium tablets and some cannabis.”

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Harris admitted he had the drugs in his cell at Polmont YOI

The subsequent police search uncovered packages containing white tablets and two bags containing a green herbal substance.

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It was stated 25.5 grams of cannabis were recovered with an estimated value of up to £1275 and 249 Valium tablets with a value of up to £375.

Defence solicitor Simon Hutchison said: “He was receiving threats from various individuals and threats towards his family, so because of that he agreed to take into his possession the drugs that were found.

"Then someone decided to tip off the prison staff. He immediately admitted to them there were drugs in his cell. He has been put upon by people in a much more powerful position than him.

"Not only has he been threatened, his family have been threatened too.”

Sheriff Craig Harris noted the “potential harm” the drugs could have caused within the YOI, stating: “I am just persuaded not to impose a custodial sentence, but you have to realise this is your last opportunity to take your life in a different direction.”

He placed Harris, who now lives in Aberdeenshire, on a supervised community payback order for 12 months with the condition he carry our 120 hours unpaid work within two years – to go along with the 95 hours he still has to complete from a previous order.