Drug dealer to expect jail

26 January 2008

A disabled woman is facing jail after she was caught dealing heroin from her wheelchair on the streets of Cambridge.

The 51-year-old rheumatoid arthritis sufferer used a rug covering her knees to hide the heroin, which she was discovered supplying this summer.

But due to her medical condition she will not immediately be put in custody for dealing the Class A drug. Her husband Donald has already started his four-year jail term for the part he played in the crime: pushing the wheelchair.

The arrest of Mrs Bell and her husband was the result of an undercover operation led by Cambridgeshire Police.

The anti-drugs campaign, known as Operation Kirby, led to 19 arrests for the constabulary.

Consequently, Mrs Bell has admitted her implication in the supply of heroin between June and August this year, in addition to two other charges at an earlier hearing.

Mrs Bell is herself addicted to the Class A drug, and is taking methadone in an attempt to fight her dependence.

She has been temporarily spared jail after doubts were raised as to whether her rheumatoid arthritis could be treated in prison.

When granting Mrs Bell bail, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told her: “I make it plain that I would not be happy if the consequences of an immediate custodial sentence posed a threat to your health or posed a threat of interruption of a complex treatment programme.”

Will McAdam

Mrs Bell’s sentencing has been adjourned until March.

It is expected that she will be put in custody, after the judge made it clear to her that “supplying Class A drugs merits an immediate prison sentence of some length.”