A mum who was jailed for supplying almost £7,000 worth of heroin has had her sentence cut on appeal.

Ashley Whiteford, 37, was found with the drug haul when police raided her home in Patna in September 2016.

She admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply, but insisted insisted she had been pressured into storing the drugs after meeting an old acquaintance while visiting her husband at Kilmarnock prison.

Her defence agent Elaine Rae told the court: “The drugs had not been in her house for a long period of time – around 10 minutes.”

But Sheriff John Montgomery replied: “You expect me to believe this? I don’t believe a word of this.”

He sentenced her to 42 months in prison.

But an appeal court has now cut her sentence to 30 months after expressing concern about how the sheriff dealt with the case.

In a ruling released this week, the appeal judges said: “We should at the outset express some concern about the way in which the sheriff has approached the plea in mitigation.”

They continued: “The sheriff goes on in his report to state that he did not accept the appellant’s contention that the drugs had only been in her house for 10 minutes before the police arrived to search the house.”

The appeal judges, however, said the sheriff’s observations were contrary to longstanding guidance of the court by not giving the accused the chance to establish her claims by way of proof.

The judges also ruled that the sheriff failed to fully take into account the affect of the sentence on Whiteford’s children and that he should have taken into account that Whiteford had pleaded guilty.

The appeal judges concluded: “Having regard to these factors, we consider that the sentence of 42 months selected by the sheriff was indeed excessive.

“We will therefore quash that sentence and substitute a sentence of 30 months imprisonment, that being discounted from a starting point of 33 months to reflect the plea of guilty.”