Former prisoner turned artist jailed once more

A FORMER prisoner turned renowned artist was yesterday jailed for eight years after he was caught taking delivery of a batch of cocaine and heroin.

Michele Caira was previously imprisoned for drugs offences but told a court he went on to forge a new career producing paintings and gained a fine arts degree.

But in June this year police received intelligence that a consignment of drugs was being brought into Fife and watched as a courier arrived at High Street, in Dysart, where Caira, 59, lived.

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They recovered almost half a kilo of cocaine and a quarter-kilo of heroin with a potential street value of about 60,000.

Caira denied that he was concerned in the supply of the Class A drugs on 25 and 26 June during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, but the Crown claimed that he had been caught red-handed.

After a jury convicted him it was revealed he had previous convictions for drugs offences, which had twice seen him jailed at the same court.

Lord Turnbull told him: "Since 1995 you have been sentenced to a total of 13 years imprisonment for various drug trafficking offences. You are obviously deeply involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs in our community."

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said that Caira had been undertaking "art work during his recent career having left university".

Caira graduated in fine art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, and his work was praised by critics. He won the Bernard Cooper Memorial Prize in 2009 for his print-making work.

Advocate depute Graham Primrose QC told the jury that the Crown contended that Caira was involved in a plan to bring a large amount of drugs into Fife.

The prosecutor said: "He was then caught red-handed with the drugs in the boot of his car."

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Caira, who described himself as a professional artist whose work had featured in several exhibitions, earlier told the court: "I had done quite well over the last year or so. A lot of the work was screenprints, small editions of maybe eight, ten ,12."