The father of a 21-year-old from Lenzie caught with £1.5 million worth of cocaine has spoken out in a hard-hitting video aimed at preventing youngsters from becoming drugs mules.
Melissa Reid was just a teenager when she and a friend were caught and jailed for six years eight months.
Helping the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s campaign ‘‘Mules are fools, don’t be an ass’’ Billy Reid has spoken of the ‘‘horrendous’’ impact on the family.
Appearing in the video, which warns young people ‘‘You only have one life, don’t waste it’’, Mr Reid is one of two parents to speak out.
Click here to see the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8YUmYloAfU#t=95 click here to see video
He said: ‘‘I am the father of Melissa Reid, currently serving a sentence of six years and eight months for being convicted of drug smuggling.
‘‘It has had a tremendous impact on us both emotionally and financially.
‘‘It’s horrendous to see your daughter in handcuffs and the living conditions she has to put up with.
‘‘Melissa spent her own 20th and 21st birthdays in prison in Peru. She missed the most significant event of her only brother’s wedding.
‘‘Events such as Christmas are non existent for us. We don’t celebrate and there will be no Christmas tree until we have her home.’’
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said each year British nationals on holiday are putting themselves at risk of arrest or detention for drug-related offending. With an increase in the number of arrests over the past year, the FCO and charity Prisoners Abroad are tackling the issue by highlighting the consequences of the use, possession and smuggling of drugs in countries around the world.
James Duddridge, minister for consular affairs, said: When it comes to drugs our message is clear – don’t take risks, it is never worth it. You only have one life so don’t waste it.
“The consequences can be devastating for both you and your family and so it is important to be familiar with the local laws. Penalties and sentences vary considerably around the world and the FCO cannot interfere in another country’s legal system. So stay safe and do not break the law.
‘‘Tough conditions, lower sanitary standards, overcrowded cells and language barriers can make the experience very isolating and somewhat different from the holiday of a lifetime.’’
Pauline Crowe, chief executive of Prisoners Abroad, said: ‘‘We urge people to consider the severe consequences of overseas imprisonment; from unsanitary conditions that breed disease and infection, to a severe shortage of food, clean water and the most basic of medical care.
“Overseas laws can be far harsher than in the UK and committing a drugs crime, whether intentionally or not, could result in a lengthy sentence in life-threatening conditions.’’