Glasgow & West Scotland

Prison officer faces jail over amphetamine trafficking

Lawrence Simonini and Russell Baillie Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption Lawrence Simonini (left) and Russell Baillie face jail terms

A prison officer who became involved in a drug trafficking operation has been told he faces a jail term.

Russell Baillie, 31, was on sick leave from Cornton Vale women's jail when he gave his uniform to Lawrence Simonini.

The 29-year-old was later caught with 20kg of amphetamine worth about £640,000 in a car on the M74 motorway.

Both men were convicted of being concerned in the supply of the drug. At the High Court in Glasgow, sentence was deferred and they were granted bail.

Liverpool trip

Judge John Morris told them: "With some hesitation I'm prepared to consider bail, but make no mistake you will be going to jail."

The court heard that Baillie became involved in drug dealing while on sick leave from his prison officer job.

He gave his uniform to Simonini who wore it when he drove up from Liverpool with the drugs in the boot of a hire car.

Prosecutors believe that Simonini was wearing the prison uniform in a bid to convince any police officers, who happened to stop him, that there was nothing untoward going on.

Unknown to the pair, undercover police cops were tracking their movements and Simonini's hire car was stopped on the M74.

The police also took a photograph of Simonini in the prison officer's uniform.

An investigation revealed that the uniform belonged to Baillie.

The court heard that Simonini hired a Toyota Verso in Motherwell on 20 March 2014, and he and Baillie drove down to Liverpool.

'Day trip' claim

The amphetamine was loaded into the car in Liverpool and Simonini, who was wearing Baillie's prison uniform, drove back to Scotland.

Meanwhile, Baillie, who was off work with depression at the time, caught a train from Lime Street railway station in Liverpool back to Central Station in Glasgow.

Both Baillie and Simonini denied any involvement in drugs.

Baillie, from Shotts, North Lanarkshire, said: "I know nothing about any drugs. I went to Liverpool for a day trip."

When asked why he had given his uniform to Simonini, from Carfin, he stated: "He wanted it for a fancy dress party."

Simonini said knew nothing about drugs and thought he was bringing a load of fake jeans to Glasgow.

He claimed that he only wore the prison outfit because Baillie told him to.

A third accused Joshua Quinn, 26, from Liverpool, was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of the drug on 21 August 2013, on journeys between Renfrew, Larkhall and Paisley.

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