Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 15:56 UK

Four years for crystal meth maker

Paul Ross
Paul Ross admitted producing the drug at his home

A man behind what is believed to be Scotland's first illicit crystal meth laboratory has been jailed for four years.

Property developer Paul Ross, 45, admitted producing the class A drug at his home in Forres, Moray.

Elgin Sheriff Court was told he was a long-standing amphetamine addict and the crystal meth was for his own use.

However Sheriff Noel McPartlin said the offence was of such gravity that it was important to send a clear message.

The court heard Grampian Police was alerted after the father-of-one placed orders for chemicals and equipment that could be used to produce the drug.

It followed a Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) investigation called Operation Pluto.

Sheriff Noel McPartlin
The discovery of a crystal meth factory in this area is a discovery which will shock and alarm anyone living here
Sheriff Noel McPartlin

Operation Ivory was then launched, and a search warrant was issued in May last year.

Officers spent several days examining Ross's home, and found evidence of production and possession.

They had to wear protective suits during the four-day search to protect them from the potentially dangerous chemicals.

The court was told there was no evidence to suggest he had been manufacturing crystal meth for distribution.

Defence counsel Paul McBride QC said the first offender was now drug free, and paid to be tested every three months.

Sheriff Noel McPartlain said: "The discovery of a crystal meth factory in this area is a discovery which will shock and alarm anyone living here.


Amphetamines are synthetic stimulants varying in purity
Methamphetamines are a stronger version, usually powder, crystals or tablets
Effects range from increased confidence to euphoria
Users can stay awake for long periods
Side effects include psychological dependence and psychosis
Depression and lethargy can set in during comedown

"In my view the operation of this illicit drug factory is a matter of such gravity, it is important a clear message is given that this should not be tolerated."

Describing the drug as "very dangerous", he jailed Ross for four years.

Ross was jailed for producing the drug and admonished on a possession charge.

Det Insp Malcolm MacLeod, head of the Grampian Police drug squad, said Scotland's first such laboratory had been discovered and dismantled.

He said: "Methamphetamine is a very dangerous drug and it has serious implications not only for users but also for anyone else who comes into contact with it.

"The health and safety consequences to local communities caused by those producing this drug are great. Fortunately, this drug is not widespread in the UK.

"The sentencing of Paul Ross should serve as a clear reminder to anyone else who thinks they can attempt to manufacture or distribute illegal drugs such as crystal meth that this type of activity will not be tolerated."

Crystal meth was described as a powerful stimulant often used by drug addicts during heroin shortages.

The drug is especially problematic in America and Australia.

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