A woman who was coerced into storing drugs and cash for her dealer to clear her debt has walked free from court.

Police recovered cannabis and amphetamine from Lesley Andrew’s home when they carried out a search of her Darlington home.

Teesside Crown Court heard how there was a safe found in the 59-year-old’s bedroom when the search warrant was executed.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said a number of bags containing different amounts of drugs were located through the house and police experts valued them as worth £5,940 at wholesale price and £10,078 at street dealer value.

Mr Soppitt said there was also £360 in cash recovered from the defendant’s home along with weighing scales and plastic zip bags.

The court heard how the defendant made no mention of the drugs or cash being stored at her home during police interview but the Crown Prosecution Service has accepted her version of events.

Andrew, of Lodge Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to possession of amphetamine with intent to supply and possession of cannabis with intent to supply following the raid on July 13, 2022.

Cainan Lonsdale, mitigating, said his client had been coerced into storing the drugs to clear her own debt as she was a regular cannabis user herself.

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Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Andrew to an 18-month community order with a requirement to attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He said: “You got yourself into some deep water here having a drug debt. You now know what happened when you mix with wrong people.

“They may seem like they are your friends but they are not.

“There was a lot of drugs recovered but they were not your responsibility. It was a large amount but bearing in mind your guilty plea you will avoid an immediate prison sentence.”