Aberdeen taxi driver avoids jail after being caught with £285,000 of cocaine
AN ABERDEEN taxi driver addicted to gambling avoided jail today after being caught with £285,000 of cocaine.
Keith Milne, 56, and Garry Davidson, 25, were both charged after police recovered the large haul of cocaine from their cars.
Milne, who worked as a self-employed taxi driver, had agreed to collect drug packages and keep them in his home after running up gambling debts of tens of thousands of pounds.
But the father-of-two was caught when detectives acting on a tip-off carried out surveillance on both men and pulled them over in their cars after they had met one another on January 9 this year.
Seven packages of the class A drug – worth a total of £250,000 – were recovered from Davidson’s vehicle when officers carried out a search of the former Grangemouth worker’s car.
Police also found another similar package in Milne’s vehicle with a maximum street value of £35,000.
The pair admitted being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug when they appeared in court earlier this year.
Sentence was deferred to the High Court in Aberdeen until today.
Defence lawyer David Moggach said Milne had just turned 56 three days ago and was married with two children.
He said: “Sadly he is no longer a taxi driver – because of the offence he lost his licence.
“He was also someone suffering from a very serious gambling addiction, he was addicted to gaming machines at bookmakers.
“Gambling has always been a problem but it got worse as the years progressed.
“The lie could only go on for so long, however, it caught up with him on the day in question.”
Mr Moggach said the taxi driver was given the opportunity to make some money by collecting drugs and keeping them in his house before passing them on.
He said Milne – who has only one previous conviction for a speeding offence in 2005 – had since come clean to his family about the extent of his difficulties and his debt.
His taxi licence was suspended and he has since secured work as a banksman slinger.
Defence counsel Jonathan Crowe said his client, Davidson, had a record of previous convictions which painted a “rather sombre” picture.
The 27 offences were carried out over eight years and involved crimes of violence and dishonesty.
He is currently serving a 22 month sentence in jail for a previous offence.
Mr Crowe said: “Mr Davidson on the day in question had requested to borrow a car from a friend.
“He agreed to pick up a package and collected drugs from Mr Milne.
“Mr Davidson was fully aware of what the package contained. He did not know the quantity or the value of the drugs.
“He accepts he has made the wrong decision.
“He regrets his actions and Mr Davidson is aware of the negative effects that illicit substances can have on individuals and communities.”
Lady Wolffe said the use of drugs was a “modern scourge on society” and jailed Davidson, of Blackbutts Steading, Muchalls, Aberdeenshire, for 44 months.
She told Milne, who lives at 6 Deevale Terrace in Aberdeen, that his offending was opportunistic.
She said: “There may have been a degree of naivety on your part but you should have appreciated that you were asked to participate in illegal activity of some sort.
“You should count yourself very fortunate that I’m not going to impose a custodial sentence.”
Milne was sentenced to a community payback order with 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.