A DRUG courier from Dalry who tried to smuggle so-called 'street valium' pills into Greenock Prison has been handed 'one of the softest sentences' available.

Claire Hand attempted to pass a package containing the class C etizolam tablets to her sister during a visit to the jail four years ago.

Sheriff Sukhwinder Gill told Hand, 36, that she was being placed on a structured deferred sentence after being told that she had "concern for the mental health" of her incarcerated sibling when she carried out the offence. 

Hand was caught in the act of passing the pills to her sister by prison officers.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher, who told a previous calling of the case that "foolish" Hand's actions had been "well-intended but wrong-headed", said: "The offence was committed against a backdrop of misplaced loyalty to her sister and concern for her mental health.

"It was a clumsy effort but also a serious one.

"The offence goes back almost four years ago and she has not offended otherwise. There are no other matters outstanding."

Procurator fiscal depute Corey Laouadi told a sentencing hearing: "On September 29, 2019 at 3.45pm the accused attended at HMP Greenock to visit her sister who was serving a custodial sentence at the time.

"At this time during the visit prison officers observed a small package being passed across the table to her sister.

"Both women were restrained by officers and the package was retained and noted to be ten white tablets.

"Police were contacted and the tablets were seized.

"They were sent for testing and in March 2020 forensic science found them to be etizolam."

Acknowledging the fact that she was imposing "one of the softest sentences", Sheriff Gill issued a six-month structured deferred sentence for Hand to be of good behaviour, with a review set for three months' time.