A CRIME group that distributed nearly £1million worth of Class A controlled illegal substances have been convicted of the sale and supply of drugs.

Stephen Nisbet, who with the assistance of his brother James and others, operated a drug empire throughout Scotland from his cell in HMP Edinburgh.

The drugs were distributed throughout Fife, Tayside, Edinburgh and Ayrshire

Nisbet, who is also serving a life sentence for murder, will be sentenced at a later date.

Police Scotland worked in partnership with the Scottish Prison Service and Nisbet has since been removed from HMP Edinburgh and is now housed in a different part of the prison estate.

This conviction is the result a Police Scotland covert operation, Operation Lapstone, which has been led by the forces Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit (OOCTU).

The operation ran for seven months and led to the dismantling of a major and established crime group.

Along with Nisbet, those found guilty include David Milne, Ronald Harrison, Robert Borland, John McMahon and Allan Holland.

OCCTU Detective Chief Inspector Colin Boyle said: “This operation is part of long-term plan to tackle drugs use and supply throughout Scotland."

“Nisbet and his associates ran a drug empire throughout Scotland. Operation Lapstone did not just disrupt this empire - it dismantled it.

"The sale and use of illegal substances is a scourge on our community and is a top priority for Police Scotland. We will not tolerate this type of anti-social behaviour and we will continue to hold those who peddle drugs in our community to account and bring them to justice.”

Detective Inspector Graeme Naysmith added: “Serious Organised Criminals undermine the efforts of those that are trying to make an honest living.

“Police Scotland can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101 by anyone wishing to pass on information about those involved in organised crime and apparently living beyond their means. Information can also be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”