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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 10:37 GMT
Drugs in 'Spanish Armada' village
Steven McKenzie
BBC Scotland News website, Highlands and Islands reporter

Kessock Bridge linking the Black Isle with Inverness. Picture by Iain Maclean
The Kessock Bridge, which links the Black Isle with Inverness, lit up at night. Picture by Iain Maclean

The villages of Avoch, Fortrose and Rosemarkie are strung along the shores of the Moray Firth on the southern coast of the Black Isle.

Each is steeped in history and, according to local legend, Avoch was founded by the survivors of a wrecked vessel of the Spanish Armada.

Properties in the communities are considered desirable - a two bedroom terraced cottage can attract offers of

more than 180,000.

Lying about 14 miles north of Inverness and reached in part by the narrow, twisting B9161, the area could be considered a quiet backwater.

For drug dealer Roy Thomas it was prime territory for peddling heroin.

Earlier this year, he was accused of introducing it to the Black Isle.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that many of those who bought from Thomas had no access to the drugs until he moved to Avoch.

Squandered thousands

Thomas, 43, admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug to others, including 24 individuals, between January 2001 and October 2005.

Two of his associates were also given prison sentences.

Craig Lee, of St Ninians, Inverness, who admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin between August 2004 and August 2005, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Co-accused Ian MacDougall, of Raffan Road, Buckie, who admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug between March 2003 and August 2004, was sentenced to four years and 10 months.

Detectives found that many of those who became hooked on the drug were from "good, stable" family backgrounds.

Many also squandered thousands of pounds to feed their addiction, according to police.

SEE ALSO
Black Isle drug dealer sentenced
21 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Force hail anti-drugs operation
21 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Drug dealer admits heroin charge
22 Jan 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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