A man who tried to smuggle almost £100,000 of ecstasy into Scotland hidden in cat food has been told that a jail sentence is “inevitable” by a high court judge.
Toby Bishop, 21, was caught after a UK Border Force worker based at Coventry’s International Postal Hub was given a parcel to examine in July last year.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Tuesday how the officer found the parcel to be declared as cat food and it was sent from Germany. The sender had addressed it to Bishop’s home in Glenogil, Angus.
Prosecutor David Dickson told judge Lord Braid that once the cat food was opened, the Border Force staff member found ecstasy which could have made £84,430 if sold for £10 on the streets.
UK Border Force then notified Police Scotland colleagues who raided Bishop’s home on August 3, 2023.
Mr Dickson said detectives then found that Bishop had been growing cannabis at the property which had a potential street value at £11,250.
Mr Dickson told the court of the moment that Bishop – who lived with his parents – was snared by detectives, who also came to Glenogil from the elite National Crime Agency.
He said: “At 9.50am on August 3, 2022, officers from the National Crime Agency and the Police Service of Scotland attended at the accused’s house. Entry was permitted by his father. The accused was seen to emerge from the area of the garage.
“Toby Bishop began to act erratically, refusing to comply with the officers’ requests and kept trying to lead them away from the garden and garage areas. Given his conduct he was handcuffed.
“The accused Toby Bishop stated to the police ‘it would be quicker if I showed officers where everything is.’
“Officers then searched the accused’s bedroom where they recovered smaller sealed bags.
“The accused then said ‘cannabis is in there and there is a lot more in the garage. I’ve been growing it.’”
The story emerged after Bishop, of Glenogil, Angus, pleaded guilty to charges of being involved in the supply of ecstasy and cannabis.
Mr Dickson also told Lord Braid how officers found a frame in the garage with nine cannabis plants which appeared to be drying. They also discovered a poly tunnel behind the garage in a garden which contained a further six plants at “various stages of growth”.
Mr Dickson told the court that officers then arrested Dickson and took him to a police station where he gave a “predominantly no comment interview”.
However, police examined Bishop’s phone and found that he sent incriminating messages on encrypted chat app Telegram.
Mr Dickson said: “Telegram chat conversations between July 1, 2022, and August 3, 2022, were recovered from the accused’s phone which disclose he went by the name ‘Maverick the Speedy’ and offered to sell pills and cannabis.
“Documents were recovered from the phone including price lists for controlled drugs, information on polytunnel construction, how to grow cannabis and one showing the effects of ecstasy.
“A search of the browser history of the phone disclosed three searches were made in relation to freezing MDMA.”
Defence solicitor advocate Kris Gilmartin told Lord Braid that as his client was a first offender, sentence would have to be deferred to obtain a report about Bishop’s background.
He also told the court that Bishop’s involvement in the drugs trade was limited – he said Bishop was paid just £100 to have the ecstasy delivered to his home.
Mr Gilmartin added: “He told the police ‘I just get paid to get them delivered to me they then get delivered somewhere else’.
“He was involved in using drugs at a low level. By doing this he became involved in the drugs fraternity.”
Lord Braid then deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports.
He told Bishop, who came to court with two bags containing his personal possessions: “You will be remanded in custody. A custodial sentence is inevitable.”
Bishop will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh next month.