Three young drug dealers who travelled from Wolverhampton to set up a business from a Leamington house were caught after two of them were seen with known drug-users.
And Brandon Cottam and Scott Perrins were jailed after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply and possessing criminal property.
Cottam (19) of George’s Parade, Wolverhampton, who also admitted possessing heroin with intent, was jailed for three years, and Perrins (20) also of George’s Parade, for two-and-a-half years.
But Cottam’s then-girlfriend Charlie Povey (18) from Basingstoke, Hampshire, who admitted possessing the two drugs with intent, was given a 13-month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Leigh Hart said that on September 2 police officers were on patrol in Leamington when they saw a number of known drug-users congregating in the Rugby Road area.
Their suspicion that they were waiting for a dealer was proved correct when they saw Perrins carrying out a drug exchange with them – and when he was stopped he had seven wraps of crack cocaine and £80 in cash on him.
CCTV from a multi-occupancy house in Rugby Road showed Perrins with the other two defendants in the address, where he had been ‘stocked up’ by Cottam, earlier that day.
A few hours later Povey was seen leaving the house with a woman who was a known drug-user and was seen to interact with two others, so she was also detained.
She had ten wraps of heroin and crack cocaine on her, and indicated that she had come from room six and that her boyfriend was still there.
And when the police went to the room, they found Cottam with 27 wraps of heroin and 16 of crack cocaine, and £460 in cash.
In her interview Povey said she had travelled from Wolverhampton with Cottam, with whom she had formed a relationship online before finally meeting him shortly before their arrest.
She said it was only during the journey that she became aware of the drugs and that they were to be supplied, while Perrins claimed to have been buying crack rather than selling it, and Cottam made no comment.
Miss Hart added that the two men both had ‘significant antecedents,’ although nothing for drug offences, but Povey was of previous good character.
Recorder Ben Mills observed that Cottam was said to have been in control of the drugs and was ‘divvying them up for others to supply.’
LJC Selby, for Cottam, said he did not challenge that and accepted he had been ‘stocking up runners,’ but had been engaged to do so by pressure and grooming from others.
He added: “The most concerning aspect was the involvement of Miss Povey, but she is adamant there was no question of her being forced into this.”
Danae Larham, for Perrins, said: “He failed to consider the consequence of his actions. He has a tendency to get in with the wrong crowd.”
But Recorder Mills retorted: “He has become part of that wrong crowd, given his previous convictions. No doubt courts have heard the same thing in the past, and he’s now 20 years old.”
Miss Larham said Perrins had not been involved in selling drugs before, and had bought 15 wraps from someone that morning.
He was then selling them at an increased price of £10 a wrap, and had sold eight and had seven left.
Jonathan Veasey-Pugh, for Povey, said she had been communicating with Cottam for a number of years before finally travelling to Wolverhampton to meet him.
On that day she had only found out about the drugs after they had arrived in Leamington, and had been asked by Cottam to pass the drugs found on her to the woman she was seen with.
Sentencing the three, Recorder Mills said Perrins was ‘starting up in business as a drug dealer, buying the drugs and selling them on for more.’
He said Povey had been involved in an exchange of drugs which she ‘readily admitted’ she had got from room six.
And he told Cottam: “You were plainly involved more than the other two. You were the senior of the three of you and had a large stock of drugs and cash.”