Prison officer caught with cocaine and cannabis outside Edinburgh's Saughton jail

A prison officer caught with bags of cocaine and cannabis in the car park of HMP Edinburgh has escaped a jail sentence.

By alexander Lawrie
Monday, 9th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 7:23 pm

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David Lee Smith, 52, was sitting in his car outside Saughton Prison when police officers swooped on him after receiving a tip off he was in possession of the drugs.

During a search of his vehicle officers discovered cocaine worth £300 and wraps of cannabis worth more than £600.

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Disgraced Smith was caught with drugs haul in Saughton Prison car park

The disgraced prison officer was also found to be in possession of 181 street Valium tablets called Etizolam when his vehicle was searched last September.

Smith, from Bo’ness, pleaded guilty to possessing quantities of Class A, B and C drugs when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

A plea of not guilty to intending to take cocaine into the prison was accepted by the Crown.

He was back in the dock for sentencing yesterday (MON) where defending solicitor Mr Rodgers told the court his client had been “badgered” by a prisoner to collect a parcel of drugs.

Mr Rodgers added: “This has had a severe impact on my client’s life but at the end of the day he’s not a daft lad but is a big boy.

“He spent a long time in the Army and spent 11 years with the SPS [Scottish Prison Service].

“He is well aware he has severely let himself and his family down by becoming involved in such matters.

“While working as a prison officer he was badgered by a specific prisoner to go and collect a parcel.

“He ultimately displayed weakness. He made a grave error going along with this.”

The lawyer added Smith suffers from PTSD due to his time spent in the armed forces and his marriage has broken down following his conviction.

The court was told Smith was “adamant” that he was not intending to take the drugs into the prison.

In sentencing, Sheriff Douglas Keir said: “This was a very, very serious matter indeed.

“I accept there was no intention of you following through with taking the drugs into the prison and that has been reflected in the charges you have pled guilty to, namely possession and nothing beyond that.

“I appreciate you have already suffered with your marriage, your job and your work friendships.

“I will take into account your previous unblemished record and your service with the armed forces.”

Smith was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work in the community and placed on a restriction of liberty order that will keep him within his home between 8pm and 7am for the next six months.

Previously prosecutor Jennifer McLaren told the court police received “intelligence” about the drug possession and raided Smith’s vehicle at around 7.30am on September 25 last year.

Ms McLaren said: “At the time of the offence the accused was a serving prison officer at HMP Edinburgh.

“They identified themselves as police officers and the accused made no reply.

“It was noted that he was holding a blue wrap which later was confirmed as cocaine - approximately 5.7 grams.

“This was taken from the accused and he was detained there and the vehicle was searched.

“Further cling film wraps containing cannabis were recovered from the driver’s door pocket - approximately 73.15 grams.

“A tub containing a powder material, later confirmed as cocaine, weighing roughly 1.06 grams [was also found].

“There was a further bag containing a wrap of cannabis and 181 Etizolam tablets.”

The fiscal said the total amount of cocaine found in Smith’s car was worth £300 while the cannabis amounted to £625.

The Etizolam tablets were said to be worth £72.

Smith pleaded guilty to possessing quantities of cocaine, cannabis and Etizolam at HMP Edinburgh, Stenhouse Road, Edinburgh, on September 25 last year.

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