Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 529

Issue # 529                                     Week ending Saturday 7th   December 2019

Mary Had A Little Lamb with Carrots, Peas and Those Lovely Baby Potatoes
by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

Growing up in God’s Country - the island of Great Bernera to uneducated plebs - I did not particularly like sheep, our fabled caora dhubh-cheannach - the blackface sheep. These meh-aggs meant a lot of work for us young uns having to go round them up, tramping over sodden moors with an over-enthusiastic collie when I really wanted to be at home to see what Spit the Dog was doing on Tiswas. Darn, I hated those sheep.

However, there were some fine rewards to come later in the sheep-rearing calendar. From a single carcase came yummy lamb chops, gigot, flank, shank, rolled loin, rolled shoulder, noisettes, valentine steaks, shish kebabs, doner kebabs, lamb mince and lip-smacking stews. That was as well as homemade black puddings, white puddings and suet for the duff.

Please skip the next few lines if you are of a queasy disposition. Then we would - or rather my Dad would - saw in half the sheep’s head and chuck it with the legs into the furnace that was our Rayburn stove. That would singe then and partially cook them so we could then haul them out with tongs and make a pot of soup.

I remember that greasy soup. As the head and legs cooled, we would sit and gnaw at the sooty, blackened cheek, the tongue and the brains alongside our own baby spuds and carrots and tinned peas from the Co-op van. No seasoning required. Delish.

Here’s one. What is the difference between my favourite dish and the reason my computer keeps crashing? One is a rack of lamb and the other is a lack of RAM. Where else would you get dinner tips and technological advice? Keep reading.

Whatever you call lamb or mutton, it’s the same soft, slightly-spongey meat that has made me what I am today. Soft, slightly-spongey? No no, that’s not what I meant. A couple of years ago, I even roasted a superb shank myself. I followed a recipe closely, part-cooking then seasoning. I only had a minute or two to season my shank before it went back in the oven. It was a race against thyme.

I detested those sheep - except on a plate. Alas, a black day has come and the nationhood of ewes, lambs, rams and ones that had the operation are finally taking their revenge upon me. The sad news is I have developed a certain medical condition which means I can no longer eat lamb. It probably has a name but the fattiness of sheep meat triggers in my abdomen what I can only describe as a massively painful spasm that requires the administration of powerful painkillers to quell.

The NHS’s finest with syringefuls of morphine bring me a kind of dopey relief. When a senior medic appears at your bedside and says you should not eat lamb again, it’s a bit of a shock. I am convinced a flock of blackfaces is on that same hill that I scoured with collie Rebel all those years ago and they are sticking pins in my effigy and muttering: “For decapitating, singeing and scoffing my great, great auntie Morag - and enjoying her, take that, human.”

Some will say poetic justice but, sorry, I cannot ever turn vegan. Well, I can, but ... Anyway, maybe it’s good timing. I was reading the other day that households now consume a lot more chicken than in the past and a lot less lamb. Yet most of us still spend similar proportions of our weekly shopping on lamb and chicken. That’s because lamb is now becoming extremely expensive - it has become really dear and is not to be scoffed at. Unlike that other kind of mutton.

I did say earlier that mutton and lamb were the same thing. I was wrong. They are absolutely not the same. Sometimes you get mutton dressed as lamb. If you were watching Nicole Scherzinger and the Pussycat Dolls on Saturday’s final of X Factor: Celebrity, you would know what I mean. As a judge on that show, which was an unexpectedly excellent series by the way, she was hinting to Simon Cowell at a reunion of her and her mates in the Dolls. They shouldn’t have.

It is not so much their age people were concerned about as the age of the audience. To have these ladies shaking their moneymakers at kids watching what is essentially a family show was yuck. To put not too fine a point on it, the more mature the lady, or anybody, the more they have to shake - and with them nearing or even past their fourth big birthday, the Dolls shook a heck of a lot. There have been hundreds of complaints already and I am not very surprised.

So, I am sad. No more lamb stews. With apologies to Sarah Josepha Hale, who is usually credited with writing about another lamb, here is the rhyme I should have written back then.

I once had a little lamb
My father killed it dead.
Now it comes to school with me
Between two chunks of bread.

General Election 2019: Political Leaders Grilled by Scot Squad Chief
Scotland's political leaders have faced questions from one of the country's most feared interviewers - the chief of the BBC's spoof comedy Scot Squad.  Nicola Sturgeon, Jackson Carlaw, Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie were all hauled in to assist Chief Commissioner Cameron Miekelson with his inquiries, ahead of the general election on December 12.  The chief said his status as "Scotland's fairest man" made him the ideal candidate to get the answers the public are looking for in the interviews for the BBC Scotland channel.  The party leaders were quizzed on a range of policy areas - including education, which they agreed they were "broadly in favour of".  And on health they faced lobbying from the chief to keep criminals "a wee bit puffy" to make them "easier to catch", with initiatives including free burgers in prison being suggested.  The politicians were also questioned about electoral tactics and deals, and which of their rivals they might be willing to enter into an alliance with.  There were few takers for the chief's offers of various pacts, although he did tempt Nicola Sturgeon with a suggestion of "the wee guy who wears a bucket on his head" as an alternative to Boris Johnson.  Chief Commissioner Miekelson also interrogated the leaders about Brexit, and the prospects for a "standardised European police siren".  And he got the vital answers from the leaders on which other country they would choose to take with them if Scotland became independent, with Wales a popular choice.

Sperm Whale Dies with 100kg 'Litter Ball' in its Stomach
A sperm whale which died after stranding on the Isle of Harris had a 100kg "litter ball" in its stomach.  Fishing nets, rope, packing straps, bags and plastic cups were among the items discovered in a compacted mass.  Whale experts said it was not immediately clear whether the debris had contributed to the whale's death.  But locals who found the carcass on Seilebost beach on Thursday said it highlighted the wider problem of marine pollution.  Dan Parry, who lives in nearby Luskentyre, said: "It was desperately sad, especially when you saw the fishing nets and debris that came out of its stomach.  We walk on these beaches nearly every day and I always take a bag to pick up litter, most of which is fishing-related.  This stuff could have easily been netting or the like lost in a storm, we just don't know, but it does show the scale of the problem we have with marine pollution."  Members of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (Smass), an organisation that investigates the deaths of whales and dolphins, dissected the whale to try and determine its cause of death.  A post on the group's Facebook page stated: "The animal wasn't in particularly poor condition, and whilst it is certainly plausible that this amount of debris was a factor in its live stranding, we actually couldn't find evidence that this had impacted or obstructed the intestines.  This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate yet again the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life."  The debris is believed to have originated from both the land and the fishing industry.  The Coastguard and workers from Western Isles Council helped with the examination of the whale on Saturday, as well as digging a giant hole on the beach to bury the sub-adult male.  According to Smass figures reports of whale and dolphin strandings in Scotland are on the increase.  There were 204 reports in 2009, rising to more than 930 in 2018.

Calmac Sues Scottish Government over Ferry Routes
The Scottish government is being sued by the publicly-owned ferry operator CalMac in a dispute over services to the Northern Isles.  CalMac is taking action against ministers over their decision not to award it the contract for the route.  The award of the contract to Serco has been suspended as a result.  Transport minister Paul Wheelhouse said arrangements would be made with Serco to extend its existing contract to ensure ferries continue to sail. The CalMac legal action was confirmed in a letter from Mr Wheelhouse to the Scottish Parliament and political parties.  In the letter, he said: "As is required in such circumstances, the initiation of the formal proceedings have resulted in the automatic suspension of the award of the contract to Serco Limited.  On Scottish ministers' behalf, Transport Scotland are liaising with the current operator, Serco Northlink, to make arrangements for the extension of the current contract to maintain continuity of service and full connectivity to and from the Northern Isles."  Mr Wheelhouse said plans to introduce fare reductions on the routes in January would not be affected.  Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Greene criticised the Scottish government for the "mess" it had made of ferries.  He said: "It's quite incredible that the SNP is being sued by one of its own quangos.  It tells you everything you need to know about the mess the SNP government has made of ferry services that a publicly-owned company wants to take it to court, leading to more uncertainty and delay for travellers."  Orkney Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur called on ministers to do "everything possible" to resolve the dispute quickly.  He said: "It is deeply disappointing that CalMac has chosen to go down this route.  It is not clear what the basis for the legal challenge is but communities in Orkney and Shetland will be appalled at this latest development."  Labour transport spokesman Colin Smyth described the challenge as a "fiasco", saying it exposed the SNP's "mishandling of this lifeline ferry services contract". The Scottish Greens questioned whether Transport Scotland was capable of dealing with the issue.  "The fact that the publicly-owned ferry company is taking the government that owns it to court does not fill me with confidence, and certainly doesn't suggest that Transport Scotland has a handle on what's happening," said spokesman John Finnie.  The contract, due to run for at least the next six years and worth an estimated £450m, is to run publicly subsidised lifeline routes between Aberdeen and Lerwick and Kirkwall, and from Scrabster to Stromness.  The government had said previously the decision on who won the bidding process was 65% based on price, and 35% on the quality of the bids. It is understood CalMac had made a bid which was more competitive on price.  But Serco, which won a six-year contract in 2012, was named the preferred bidder.  At the time, Transport Scotland said the bidding process was designed to "attract the most economically advantageous tender based on a combination of price and quality." The new contract had been due to start in October.

Prof Boyd Robertson Confirmed as NHS Highland's New Chairman
Academic and Gaelic ambassador Prof Boyd Robertson has been appointed NHS Highland's chairman on a permanent basis.  He has served in the role on an interim basis since February following the resignation of David Alston, a former Highland councillor.  Prof Robertson has received multiple awards for his services to education and Gaelic.  He is a former principal of Skye's Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Gaelic college.  NHS Highland covers a large area, including the Highlands, Skye and parts of Argyll.  Its hospitals include Raigmore in Inverness and the Belford in Fort William.  NHS Highland has faced a number of challenges this year. Allegations of a "bullying culture" were investigated by a QC-led independent review, and the health board had to deal with a projected deficit of £19.9m in 2018/19.

Hotel on Derelict Former Inverness Pool Site
Plans for a 175-bedroom hotel on derelict land that once housed Inverness's swimming baths have been given the go-ahead.  The site on the banks of the River Ness, near the city centre, has been empty for almost 20 years.  It has been derelict since the closure of the Glebe Street Swimming Pool.  Dutch development company Vastint Hospitality has been granted planning permission by Highland Council's south planning applications committee.  Once built, the hotel would be operated by the Mariott hotel chain.

Castletown Pupils Raise Cash by the Bucketload
Children at Castletown school have raised over £1000 for charity... with the help of Oor Willie.  Earlier in the year, as part of the Oor Wullie's Big Bucket Trail, the youngsters in the village primary were given a Wee Oor Wullie to decorate. It went on display in Inverness Library along with others from the Highlands.  The exhibition was held as part of a wider summer event which saw larger sculptures being decorated by established artists and displayed in locations around Scotland, all to raise awareness and vital cash for children's hospital charities.  The Castletown Oor Wullie has now returned home and, as part of the school's participation in the Big Bucket Trail, a fundraiser was held for the Archie Foundation, which supports the Highland Children’s Unit at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and all child health across the north of Scotland and the Northern and Western Isles.  The primary and nursery children, who dressed up in sporty outfits for the day, took part in a sponsored "spell-ercise", in which they had to be very active while also spelling words on a big screen. They also had a 100-square sheet of small Oor Wullies which had to be covered in coins.  As a result, they raised £1310.71 for the Archie Foundation.  Head teacher Rhona Moodie praised their efforts and said: "I am absolutely delighted with how much they raised and would like to thank everyone for their support towards this charity which is directly linked to the children’s ward in Raigmore Hospital."

Private Schools in Scotland to Be Taxed Full Business Rates next Year
Private schools will be taxed full business rates next year, the Scottish government has confirmed.  The announcement means the schools will no longer get relief of up to 20% on their bills for non-domestic rates.   The change, recommended three years ago, will come into effect on 1 September next year.  Independent schools have warned they could be hit by a £37m bill in the first five years of the new system.  There are 51 private schools in Scotland, including famous institutions like Gordonstoun and Fettes. Inclusion of fee-paying schools in non-domestic rate payments was recommended in the Barclay Review of independent schools.  Public finance minister Kate Forbes confirmed the new law would be incorporated into the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, currently in its second stage.  Under the legislation, schools would lose their charity relief unless they were responsible for teaching children with additional support needs.  Speaking before Holyrood's local government and communities committee, the minister said the announcement "would allow time for those schools affected to plan ahead".  Ms Forbes added: "We've always been clear that we'll deliver this change, as recommended by the Barclay Review, and I would hope that confirmation of the government's commencement intentions will assist the sector in its ongoing planning."

Tonnes of Snow Made for Cairngorm Mountain Ski Season
Almost 100 tonnes of snow has been artificially produced every day for more than a month at an outdoor ski centre.  The snowmaking has been done in preparation for the official start of Cairngorm Mountain's snowsports season on Saturday.  The artificial snow will mean skiing and snowboarding can be guaranteed on lower level runs.  The centre near Aviemore is owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  It is operated on the public agency's behalf by Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited (CMSL).  The artificial snow has been made using a "snow factory" machine.  Cairngorm Mountain, along with other outdoor snowsports centres - including The Lecht and Glencoe Mountain - have been using snowmaking in recent winters to guarantee snowsports on some runs when there is insufficient natural snow.  The Nevis Range Mountain Experience, near Fort William, has purchased a new snowmaking plant as part of £1m investment in infrastructure.  Events to mark the Cairngorm Mountain's snowsports season include ski schools for children, demonstrations by Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and a screening of the animated movie Frozen.  HIE said during the season it would be running nine surface lifts which should enable up to 1,000 visitors a day to access the slopes when conditions are suitable.  It said all surface lifts would be operational as and when snow cover and customer demand permits. The centre's funicular railway remains suspended after it was closed a year ago because of structural problems.  A decision has still to be taken on repairs to the railway.  HIE said in busy periods up to 10 designated staff, called hosts, would be working at the ski lifts.  They will work alongside the centre's core operations team, meeting and greeting visitors, providing help when queues build up, communicating information, and providing cover during breaks.  Susan Smith, of CMSL, said: "This is a big day for us, and we're determined to make it a great one for everyone who comes along.  There's so much to do at Cairngorm Mountain and this is an excellent opportunity to celebrate what the centre has to offer. The snow factory has meant we are able to guarantee snow on the day and have an area of the lower hill open for snow sports."

High-rise Residents to Get Post-Grenfell Fire Safety Advice

Every resident in a high-rise property in Scotland is to be given fire safety advice based on practices introduced since the Grenfell Tower disaster.  Leaflets on how to prevent fires in the home and what to do if one starts in the building are being distributed.  Libraries and community centres in all 15 local authorities with the properties will also be included.  The guidance comes more than two years since the Grenfell blaze, which claimed the lives of 72 people.  Changes were introduced in Scotland three months ago to building and safety standards for high-rises.  The new laws include a stipulation that all new buildings in Scotland that are taller than 11 metres will have to be fitted with cladding that slows and controls the spread of fire.  Fire officers have visited every high-rise building in Scotland since 2017 — and they are inspected quarterly.  The new fire safety leaflet has been produced by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the Scottish government. The information will also be distributed to people responsible for fire safety in high-rise buildings - including councils, housing associations, owners and private landlords.  The Scottish government's community safety minister Ash Denham said the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in South Kensington in 2017 "emphasised how important building and fire safety is".  She said: "Although we already have stringent regulations in place, we are determined to do everything we can to strengthen the safety of those living in high-rise buildings.  The information leaflets for residents will set out clearly and simply the steps they can take to help prevent fires, and the ways people can best ensure their own safety as well as that of relatives and neighbours."  New fire safety measures for high-rise buildings in Scotland were announced in December 2018 and introduced in August this year.  They include:  All new buildings in Scotland taller than 11 metres have to be fitted with cladding that slows and controls the spread of fire.      Mandatory installation of sprinklers in flats and larger multiple-occupancy dwellings.  Improved evacuation measures for new high-rise buildings, including sound alerts and escape stairs.   New compliance plans for high risk buildings.  A database of safety critical information for all high rise residential buildings.  Guidance for residents of high rise buildings.  Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart, the SFRS director of prevention and protection, said the new guidance leaflet would "build on the partnership work already undertaken in Scotland since the Grenfell Tower tragedy".  He added: "We continue to work with our communities to ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency.  And while SFRS does not have legislative responsibility for the provision of fire safety measures in buildings, we will and do work with those responsible for the buildings and the tenants to ensure Scotland's high-rise premises are as safe as possible."

Scottish Power to Add Solar and Battery Power to Wind Farms
The amount of energy harnessed through solar power is set to increase.  Scottish Power said it planned "hybrid technology" by adding solar panels to wind farms. Similar proposals have also been submitted for sites in England.  The company said it would also install huge batteries to store electricity at sites in a bid to increase the reliability of renewable sources. A so-called "super battery" is currently being constructed at Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow. Although it lacks the solar energy potential of countries near the equator, Scotland does receive similar levels of sunlight to Germany, which was an early leader in solar energy production. The proposals, which are the first from Scottish Power to make use of solar power, are designed to get "the absolute maximum potential out of every clean energy project.  Speaking at the annual COP25 climate change event, Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson said using a mixture of renewable energy sources was the most efficient and reliable method of producing green electricity.  He added: "The costs for building wind, solar and batteries have reduced considerably in recent years, and they complement each other very well."  Scottish Power is also committed to developing existing wind farms with new renewable technology.  In 2016, energy company Vattenfall began tests on combining wind and solar at its site in west Wales. Parc Cynog is now a fully operational "solar and wind farm".  The announcement comes after the Scottish government declared a climate emergency and committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2045 earlier this year. Net-zero is the point where the same volume of greenhouse gases is being emitted as is being absorbed through offsetting techniques such as forestry.  UN conferences also set targets for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  A significant agreement at COP21 in Paris saw nearly 200 countries agree to tackle climate change for the first time.  This year the conference in Madrid is expected to focus on emissions targets for next year. Next year's conference, COP26, will be held in Glasgow in November.

Wild Campers Visiting the Highlands Could Face Tourist Tax
New technologies could help make sure visitors to the Highlands pay any future tourist tax, it has been suggested.  Highland Council says there could be challenges collecting the levy from visiting wild campers and motorhome users not staying at campsites.  It said vehicle number plate recognition and sensor technologies could help keep track of the visitors. The suggestion has been made in a response to a consultation on a tax.  Wild camping, a popular pursuit among walkers and climbers, involves going into remote areas and leaving no or little trace of where they have been.  Highland Council said wild campers could be asked to pay a levy at a point where they do use any public tourist facilities.  The Scottish government has sought feedback from local authorities on the principles of a local discretionary transient visitor levy or tourist tax.  In its response, Highland Council said in "broad terms" it was supportive of the idea of a "fair, open and accountable" tax.  Among its comments to the government consultation, Highland Council said collecting a levy from some types of visitors could be a challenge.  The council added: "However, today's rapid advances in technology particularly in areas such as number plate recognition or sensor technology could make this more practical in the very near future.  Those truly wild camping in tents away from roads and habitation are unlikely to be making use of public facilities and if/when they do visit other areas could be levied as with other groups so could be liable for any levy at that point." Highland Council has done its own consultation on a tourist tax and it said the feedback showed "significant support" for levying motorhome visitors not staying on paid sites. It said 84% of respondents thought motorhome users should be included, if a tax was introduced. This was 10% higher than the number who thought those staying in paid for overnight accommodation should pay.  Tourism is the Highland region's most important industry and supports 25,000 jobs.  Last year almost 6.5 million visitors came to the area, according to the council.  Money raised from any future levy could be invested in facilities used by tourists, such as public toilets. Highland residents holidaying in their home area would not be expected to pay the levy, the council has suggested.  Highland councillors will be asked to agree to the response to the government consultation and consider the results of the local authority's own survey at a meeting next week.

River Almond Polluted by De-icer from Edinburgh Airport

A major river is being polluted with de-icer from Edinburgh Airport, BBC Scotland has learned.  The fluid leaks into the Gogar Burn, which feeds into the River Almond, affecting salmon, trout and eels, according to the Forth Rivers Trust.  An enforcement notice was issued to the airport by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) last year. The airport said it has invested in machinery and infrastructure in a bid to reduce the impact. De-icer is sprayed on planes before take-off when the temperature goes below 5C, as a vital safety measure.It is understood that about 150 litres of de-icer is used on each plane. Surface water from the runway runs into the Gogar Burn, which flows underneath the airport, and then into the nearby River Almond. Alison Baker, director of the Forth Rivers Trust, said that if the water is not treated properly, contaminants like de-icer negatively affect river life. "The constituents of de-icer, glycols and urea will cause stress to pollution-intolerant fish and invertebrates; these will be our native fish populations predominantly, such as salmon, trout and eels," she added.  "This issue has been raised with Sepa in the past and we are disappointed that this matter is still non-compliant, particularly as we and others are working hard to restore the River Almond for communities and wildlife."  Sepa said it issued an enforcement notice in October 2018, following a specific incident in winter 2017/18.  It is understood to have involved a build-up of fungus along 4km (2.5 miles) of the river. Sepa asked the airport to find and implement "more sustainable solutions" to the problem of de-icer run-off.  A spokesman said: "Sepa recognises the short-term solutions implemented by the airport and we continue to work together to accelerate the medium term investment that is required to address the fundamental challenge."  De-icing is required to maintain the safety and integrity of aircraft, according to Edinburgh Airport.  A spokesman added: "We have made significant investments in machinery and infrastructure to reduce the impact of these activities on the Gogar Burn and we will continue to work closely with our environment regulator Sepa on further improvements in this area."

Perth Pub Reopens after £500,000 Investment from Dutch Beer Giants

A Fair City pub has reopened after a £500,000 investment from a major European brewery. The Welcome Inn in Perth’s Letham neighbourhood shut in August for the much needed revamp. After it was bought over by Dutch beer giant Heineken last year, the pub had a major structural overhaul this autumn, bankrolled by the Amsterdam-based brewers.  The Welcome Inn is the local for around 7,000 houses in Letham, parts of Oakbank  and the Western Edge  On Tuesday, Perth landlord Debbie Little pulled the first pints as the Rannoch Road pub reopened to the public.  The refurbished premises has been completed with inside and outside seating, a kitchen, new toilets and fresh exterior facade.  Perth native Debbie, who spent the last year and a half running The Tavern in the city centre, has taken the helm as part of the “Just Add Talent” scheme.  This allowed Heineken’s subsidiary firm Star Pubs and Bars to minimise the up-front cost of taking on the premises.  Star own the building and pay the overheads, leaving Debbie to handle the day-to-day running of the pub – a setup the company say helps them recruit the best calibre of management.  Debbie said: “We closed in August and completely ripped out everything.  Now there is a lot more light with more windows. We’ve got plans for live music most weekends too, the beer garden is nearly finished and it will be a space for families too. The pub has been here for a long time but it’s not been run properly lately. I’ve been speaking to some people who have lived locally all their lives and popped in to see us. Some hadn’t been in for 50 years.”  Around 11 jobs have been created at the newly launched pub restaurant, with plenty going to Letham residents.

Mother Who Stored £300,000 of Drugs in Lossiemouth Jailed

A mother who has been jailed after being caught with more than £300,000 of drugs in Moray said criminals had threatened to harm her children.  Sasha Peel, 29, had cocaine, heroin and the sedative etizolam at her home in Lossiemouth in August last year.  Peel said she believed she had no other option due to fears for her two young children. At the High Court in Edinburgh she admitted supply charges, and was jailed for three years and four months. She admitted being involved in the supply of drugs between March and August last year. Judge Michael O'Grady QC said he would give a one third discount off the five-year term that she would have otherwise have received without a guilty plea.  He said: "I have taken into account your admissions which have been full and haven't been contradicted by the Crown. However, there are aspects of this case which cause me anxiety. One is the total value of the drugs which have been seized. The other is the total amount of time which you spent allowing your home to be used as a safe house.  The courts have made it absolutely clear on previous occasions that people in your position are an important and vital part of the distribution system."  The court previously heard how officers raided Peel's house after receiving intelligence that her property was a storage facility. They discovered cocaine worth more than £265,000, etizolam which could be sold for almost £60,000, and heroin with a maximum street value of more than £30,000.