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Pregnant mum among addicts jailed for 12 years over plot to supply thousands of pounds of drugs

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: May 14, 2014

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THREE cocaine users involved in a conspiracy to supply the drug have been jailed for a total of 12 years.

Benjamin Jones, Ashley Loftus and his pregnant partner Rebecca Austin started their prison sentences last month. A fourth defendant, Allan Lovatt, was handed a suspended jail term after drugs were stored at his house. Prosecutor Stuart Clarkson told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court police found cocaine in Jones's car on November 30, 2012.

He was released but was under police surveillance and on March 15 last year Jones was seen to leave the Co-op in Tean and walk to Lovatt's address in High Street.

He was stopped when he left with a blue bag found to contain 52.1 grams of cocaine with a 75 per cent purity, worth between £6,000 and £14,000. Other amounts of the drug, worth £277, were also found.

Mr Clarkson said police raided the home of Loftus and Austin in Vivian Road, Fenton, at 2.24pm on June 7.

Officers found bags, scales, £1,140 cash, and 32.3 grams of cocaine with a seven per cent purity, worth £1,292.

Mr Clarkson said: "Jones was the principal conspirator. Loftus was next in command, selling drugs on Jones's behalf. Austin was Loftus' partner and was doing what she was told by him. The case against Lovatt relates only to March 15. He was the warehouseman looking after those drugs on that date."

The court heard phone evidence showed clear links between the three principal offenders. All four defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring together to supply cocaine.

Jones, aged 26, of Winchester Avenue, Bentilee, entered his plea on the basis he withdrew from the conspiracy after his arrest on March 15.

Austin, a 27-year-old mother-of-two, of Tean Road, Cheadle, was a cocaine addict and accepted she received and relayed texts regarding the supply of cocaine. She also delivered cash in payment for cocaine and on two occasions on June 6 she delivered the drug as instructed by Loftus.

Loftus, aged 26, of the same address, was a cocaine addict who supplied the drug as a street dealer to feed his addiction.

Lovatt, aged 51, of High Street, Tean, entered his plea on the basis Jones asked if he could leave a bag at his house and collect it the next day. He did not know it contained drugs but became suspicious when he saw some of Jones's friends. He did not profit.

Judge Paul Glenn jailed Jones for five years and three months, Loftus was sentenced to four years, nine months and Austin was locked up for two years.

Lovatt was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, with 18 months' supervision, and a six month curfew from 7pm to 7am.

Judge Glenn said: "Class A drugs are highly addictive. Users offend to finance their expensive addictions. Heroin and cocaine are highly addictive and they cause misery to users and the victims of crimes. Those who play any part in supplying such drugs must expect significant prison sentences."

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