A DRUG courier who was spared jail after he was caught trafficking £2.4million worth of cocaine was today sentenced to three years behind bars by appeal judges.

Graham Curran, 35, had been ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work earlier this year after he admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug.

The offence, which took place in Paisley, was aggravated by a link to serious organised crime.

But the Crown challenged the sentence at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh and judges have now quashed it and imposed a jail term instead.

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, said Curran would have faced a "significantly longer" prison sentence but for an issue of comparative justice that arose because of sentencing in an associated case.

Lady Dorrian, who heard the appeal with Lord Matthews and Lord Boyd of Duncansby, added that they considered the original sentence to be "inexplicable."

She said Curran was "a knowing courier" who had willingly engaged in crime for gain, with very significant amounts of drugs involved.

Curran was seen taking part in the handover of the illegal haul to an associate in the Foxbar area on August 18, 2020.

Allan Ferguson parked a Transit van in Foxbar Crescent, before Curran arrived by car and handed over bags to him.

Police recovered a total of 20 kilos of cocaine, which was up to 54% pure, as well as cash and drug equipment, after Ferguson was stopped and a search at his home in Clydebank was carried out.

He was later jailed for four years after admitting cocaine supply and possession of a stun gun.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the appeal court that, in Curran's case, it was "well beyond the custody threshold."

He said: "It is not a case in which a community-based disposal was appropriate."

The prosecutor added that Curran was playing an important role in the overall supply chain in the illicit drugs trade.

Mr Prentice said: "The respondent (Curran) was participating in an operation which resulted in the transportation of a significant quantity of drugs – some 20 kilograms.

"This is a case where someone went in with his eyes open and knew what he was doing.

"The Crown invites the court to conclude that the sentence was unduly lenient."

Solicitor advocate Iain Paterson, representing Curran, asked the appeal judges to refuse the Crown challenge and said the sentencing judge, Lady Scott, had appropriately followed the process and outlined the reasons for her decision.

He added that Curran's involvement was at a low level and he had not been aware of the type of drugs involved.

Mr Paterson said: "In this instance, the respondent's position was he was doing a favour for a friend."

He added that Curran, of Easterhouse, Glasgow, was a dad-of-four who had shown a willingness to undergo supervision to address his offending behaviour.

The defence lawyer said his client was in full-time employment but was in debt at the time of the offence.

"At the end of the day, there are occasions when custody is inevitable for drugs cases," added Mr Paterson. "There are cases, even involving quite large quantities such as this, where it is not."