Human trafficking arrest in Galashiels

A 33-year-old man has appeared in court accused of a human trafficking offence through forced or compulsory labour.

Police Scotland
Police Scotland

Roche Thomson, who gave an address in Galashiels, is also charged with drug dealing and possession of a controlled drug.

He made no plea during a private hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday and the case was continued for further examination.

Thomson was remanded in custody and is due to appear in court again next week.

In a statement, Police Scotland said that earlier this month they received a report that a person in East Lothian was potentially being exploited and forced to sell drugs.

An investigation was launched which led to enforcement work being carried out an address in Galashiels on Wednesday.

A small amount of class B drugs was found within the property along with a three-figure sum of cash.

Thomson was arrested and appeared in court on Thursday.

The alleged victim continues to receive support by appropriate partner agencies, according to Police Scotland.

Detective Inspector Laura Dickson from The Lothians and Scottish Borders CID said: “This highlights our continued commitment to work with partners to pursue those involved in this type of criminality.

"Our aim is to safeguard individuals who may be at risk of exploitation and significant harm from drug dealers who target the most vulnerable in our communities, taking over their homes and forcing them to deal drugs.

“We all have an obligation to help protect each other and rely on information about suspicious behaviour to identify victims as well as criminal activity which may be happening in our local areas.