Post Office workers raised the alarm
Post Office staff and police helped bust the first commercial operation in Scotland to produce a dangerous new drug called shatter.
Twenty-six-year-old Joshua Palmer, who described himself as a selfemployed online shop owner, lived alone at Roadside Cottage, Alyth.
He turned his home into a moneymaking factory to produce the class B drug, developed by passing butane gas through cannabis.
He was a regular visitor to the Post Office at the Scotmid store in the town’s Airlie Street, where he would despatch special delivery packages to addresses both north and south of the border.
But staff became suspicious after detecting a strong odour from him and the parcels, believed to be cannabis.
The Royal Mail’s security department was alerted and they called in the police.
Palmer’s home was searched and police seized thousands of pounds worth of shatter as well as cannabis and the equipment used to produce the illicit substance.
Depute fiscal John Malpass said the case related to Palmer producing and being concerned in the supply of butane hash oil (BHO).
He explained: “It’s a processed form of a substance identified on forensic examination as tetrahydrocannabinal (THC), a class B drug.
“According to police, it’s a relatively new product on the illicit market and the recovery of BHO is very rare in Scotland.
“It’s believed this case is the first find of a commercial-style set-up in Scotland.”
Palmer, a first offender, will be sentenced on June 7 after background reports are prepared.
And Sheriff William Wood warned the accused that he does not rule out the imposition of a jail term.
“The court will have to consider whether a custodial sentence is the only way this matter can be dealt with,” he said
Now living in Morn Street, Alyth, Palmer admitted that between August 2015 and February 2016 he was concerned in the supply of THC.
He also pled guilty to producing the drug at his home between the same dates.
Mr Malpass said the texture of BHO resembles hardened treacle toffee.
During the production process liquid butane is allowed to evaporate into a gas, which creates an explosive atmosphere.
He added: “The production process is highly dangerous in an uncontrolled environment as highly volatile substances are being used.”
In the week before Christmas 2015 Palmer visited the post office on a daily basis and would hand over two or three packages for posting.
A worker noticed a strong smell of cannabis coming from the packages.
In January 2016 packages bound for Ayrshire and Surrey were opened and examined.
They contained 6.77 grammes and 0.97 grammes respectively of shatter.
They were worth between £300-600 and £50-100.
A further 41.58 grammes of shatter with a potential illicit value of between £2070 and £4140, were also seized.
In addition more than 700 grammes of cannabis, with a total potential illicit value of between £5370 and £15,940, were confiscated.
£560 in cash was also found in the cottage.
The prosecution have asked for the drugs and associated equipment to be destroyed.
Guilty Joshua Palmer leaves court