Wednesday 25 January 2012

Gangster gets four years for drug stash


A CAREER criminal branded as “extraordinarily dangerous” has been jailed for four years after being caught with heroin worth £50,000 during a police raid. Detectives believe that Ronald Aldred was peddling the Class A drug in Edinburgh and West Lothian after recovering the stash kept at his Kirkliston home. The 44-year-old was jailed for 12 years in 2002 as the ringleader of a gang that took part in a campaign of kidnapping, assault and extortion, which a judge described as being like “something out of a 1930s Hollywood gangster movie”. Aldred had been hired by dealers to recover a kilo of stolen cocaine, and at one point the gang tried to put a loaded gun into a victim’s mouth during a vicious interrogation. In 1992, he was jailed for nine years for two attempted murders after launching an attack with a sword and knife at The Royal Nip pub in Albert Street, Leith. Detective Sergeant Jim Robertson, from the force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), worked on the drug investigation against Aldred, which saw him jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday. DS Robertson said that Aldred was caught with half a kilo of heroin at his home in Marshall Road, Kirkliston. Aldred, who has a total of five previous convictions, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin on October 6 last year, and prosecutors have already begun steps to seize his assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Police raided his home after a tip-off and found five packages of heroin along with phones, scales, sandwich bags and more than £700 in cash. Prosecutors said that if the heroin had been broken down and sold on as “tenner bags” then it had the potential value of £50,000. His defence counsel, Frank Gallagher, told the court that during his last period in prison Aldred had developed a drug problem and built up debts. Mr Gallagher said that his client agreed to the drugs being in his home in return for the debt being reduced. DS Robertson told the Evening News: “This conviction shows our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime. The drugs were being stored at that address and we’re confident Aldred was involved in dealing. “We welcome this four-year sentence, both as a deterrent to Aldred and to anyone else involved in drug dealing.” In early 2002, Aldred’s gang was recruited to hunt down stolen cocaine, abducting one man from outside a Scottish court who was handcuffed and forced to hand over £7000. Sentencing them for that offence, Lord Dawson told Aldred and his two accomplices: “I regard all three of you as extraordinarily dangerous men against whom the public must be protected.” But Aldred’s 12-year sentence was later cut to eight years by appeal judges. In May 1992, Aldred was found guilty after a five-day trial for attempting to murder two men and seriously assaulting two others. Aldred attempted to murder Thomas Brown by stabbing him with a knife and striking him with a sword, and assaulted Thomas Monaghan with the sword in The Royal Nip in September 1991. He also attempted to murder David McKinlay with a knife in Ardshiel Avenue, Drumbrae, on October 19, 1991 and struck Kevin Smith on the head with a knife in Easter Road on August 3, 1991.