A GRANDMOTHER who dealt cocaine and who used her son as a drugs courier, has been jailed for two and a half years.

Julie Smith was herself a user of cocaine, and became involved in the supply of the Class-A drug to others after spending "a large quantity of her own money" on her addiction.

She was one of three defendants, all from the Caerphilly area, sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court yesterday but the only one given an immediate prison sentence.

The court heard Smith had been supplied with cocaine by another defendant, George Medcraft, who was aged 18 at the time.

Medcraft, now 19, was "a young man with promise" whose life "took a turn" after he left home, Christopher Rees, defending, said. After racking up a "significant debt" to a drug dealer, the "vulnerable" Medcraft was in turn "recruited" to supply cocaine.

When police officers carried out warrants at the pair's homes, they found mobile phone evidence the granny had also involved her son, Robbie, in the supply of cocaine. 

He was also arrested and charged. Ed Mitchard, defending, said Robbie Smith, 23, was "a young man clearly well thought of" by his regular employer, and his role in the dealing was effectively that of a "gofer" who was "dropping off... drugs that had been paid for".

Ruth Smith, defending Julie Smith, said the 53-year-old, who had been in poor health and was housebound at the time of the offending, had shown "remorse" and "feels terrible" about involving her son.

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Josh Scouller, prosecuting, described Medcraft and Julie Smith's roles in the offending as "significant" and Robbie Smith's as "lesser". All three defendants pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance to a charge of being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

The judge, Wayne Beard, described the offences as "serious" and "one of the banes of modern society".

He accepted Robbie Smith's role was down to "misguided loyalty" and was "essentially nothing more than a courier for his mother", who "coerced you, effectively... into carrying drugs on her behalf".

The judge told Julie Smith, of Coed Main, Caerphilly, her punishment "must be immediate custody" and jailed her for 30 months.

Medcraft, of Cwarrau Mawr Farm Lane, Caerphilly, was given a two-year custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months. The judge noted the defendant had "moved away" from the use of drugs and had a "clear" prospect of rehabilitation. Medcraft must also complete 15 rehabiliation activity sessions and 180 hours of unpaid work.

Robbie Smith, of Troed-Y-Bryn, Caerphilly, was also described as having a "real prospect" of rehabilitation. He was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and must complete 10 sessions of rehabilitation activities and 130 hours of unpaid work.

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