FORMER school friends of a Scots teenager being held in a South American jail have spoken of their shock.

Melissa Reid, 19, from East Dunbartonshire, was detained over her alleged involvement in smuggling cocaine with a street value of around £1.5million.

She was held before boarding a flight from the Peruvian capital of Lima to Spain last week, along with her friend Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20.

It is alleged Ms Reid was found with 18 packets of the Class A drug cocaine in her suitcase, weighing 5.78kg at Jorge Chavez International Airport after being detected by a sniffer dog.

Ms McCollum Connolly, who was studying at Belfast Metropolitan College, was allegedly travelling with 16 envelopes containing cocaine, weighing 5.81kg.

If convicted the pair face a jail sentence of between seven and 25 years.

Ms Reid had been living in Balearic island Ibiza since June working in bars and clubs.

Neither of the friends' families knew they were in South America and they were thought to be flying out to Peru yesterday.

There was no answer at Ms Reid's home, on the outskirts of Lenzie in a new housing development, yesterday.

Her dad William and mum Debra, as well as her two sisters and brother, are all said to be coming to terms with the shock.

Former Lenzie Academy pupil Ms Reid, who left school after fifth year, had previously worked at Scottish and Southern Energy.

A 20-year-old shop worker from Lenzie, who went to school with Ms Reid, said he and his friends couldn't believe it.

The man, who asked not be named, said: "Everyone I've spoken to has been shocked at what we've heard.

"I'd heard she was planning to come home, so I don't know if she went to South America instead.

"A few people had said she was estranged from her family so I don't know if there were some issues going on with her there."

A 19-year-old female student, who also went to school with Melissa, said: "I don't really know how I feel about it.

"She was loud and popular at school and always up for a laugh."

Local MP Jo Swinson said she was "deeply concerned" to hear about the arrest.

She said: "Naturally, this is a very distressing time for Melissa and her family, who are of course worried about her welfare.

"I have sought reassurances from the ­Foreign Office that the family are receiving ­ongoing support, both here and in Peru."