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Stratford woman jailed for dealing heroin and cocaine

Warwick Crown Court
Warwick Crown Court

A WOMAN and a young man,who was caught with heroin and crack cocaine after he was seen leaving her Stratford flat, have been jailed for their ‘cottage industry’ drug-dealing.

Cheryl Lancaster and Marc Ashbridge both pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine.

Lancaster, 39, of Congreve Way, Stratford, who also admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply it and failing to surrender to bail at an earlier hearing, was jailed for three years and five months.

Ashbridge, 22, of Hamstead Road, Hadsworth, Birmingham, who admitted a further offence of possessing cocaine, was jailed for three years and four months.

Prosecutor Justin Jarmola said that on November 2 last year police officers who had been keeping observation on the flats where Lancaster lived saw Ashbridge leaving.

He cycled away, and the officers gave chase and caught him in nearby Rushbrook Road.

Ashbridge confirmed he had come from Lancaster’s address, and when the police re-traced his route they found a small bag containing eight £10 wraps of heroin he had discarded as he had tried to get away from them.

And when he was searched at the police station, he was found to have a rock of crack cocaine in his jacket, £175 in cash and two phones on him.

Meanwhile other officers went to Lancaster’s flat where she was arrested and was found to be wearing two bras, with two £10 wraps of heroin concealed between them.

They also seized two phones from her, and when they were examined there were found to be 443 drug-related messages on one of them, while one of Ashbridge’s phones had 933 similar messages.

When they were interviewed, Ashbridge made no comment, and Lancaster admitted personal use, but not supply, said Mr Jarmola.

He added that Lancaster had three previous convictions for possessing drugs, and had been jailed for 30 months in 2002, for a robbery in which she had threatened to stab someone with a needle she claimed was infected, and Ashbridge had convictions for dishonesty and one for possessing cocaine.Ian Speed, for Lancaster, said that when she had pleaded guilty in June, ‘she accepted she had effectively set up shop’ at her home.

She was granted bail when her case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report, but turned up drunk for her appointment with the probation service.When the case was next listed she came to court, but left before it was called on, and after she failed to turn up a week later, a warrant was issued for her arrest.

“Now she’s in a place where hopefully she can address the problem, with the assistance of the prison,” he added.Bernard Porter, for Ashbridge, said: “At the time of this he had become addicted to class A drugs.”

He had had a job at an establishment in Broad Street in Birmingham, but that came to an end, and he was becoming more and more dependent on drugs.

“He was not working, and became indebted to the people who were supplying him, and that led to him becoming involved himself in the drugs business.“Over a period of time he was in contact with the co-defendant, and they were both involved in supplying drugs, not large amounts at any one time, but over a considerable period of time,” added Mr Porter.

Jailing the two of them, Judge Richard Bond said: “It’s often said in cases of this nature that if you supply class A drugs, it’s spreading abject misery in society.

“I’ve been told you both have an addiction to class A drugs, so you will know what I’m talking about.

“But both of you have moved on from being addicts to being street dealers in class A drugs. This isn’t a case of you simply dealing to one or two people, you had quite a little cottage industry.”

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