Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

ALL BEHIND BARS; Police Operation Keeps Dealers off Streets

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

ALL BEHIND BARS; Police Operation Keeps Dealers off Streets

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT

SIX Middlesbrough drug dealers -including a woman who worked as an escort for drug money - have been jailed for a total of more than 16 years.

The low-level dealers snared in Cleveland Police's Operation Atlanta were often drug addicts selling small wraps to support their own habits.

At its height, Joanne Haggerty's crack cocaine use cost her pounds 2,000 per week, Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

The 25-year-old raised money by becoming an escort and advertising her services via a website.

She and her husband Peter, 29, of Market Square, North Ormesby, were involved in dealing Class A drugs from a home on Thornton Street.

A drug user since his teens and in debt to dealers, Mr Haggerty admitted 11 charges of supplying heroin over 15 days, and one of heroin possession.

His wife admitted one heroin supply charge and three counts of being concerned in the heroin and crack supply.

Judge Tony Briggs told the pair: "Both of you are under no illusions whatever as to what happens when drugs are taken and the misery and degradation that it causes.

"You are the last and nonetheless important link in the chain of distribution."

He jailed Mr Haggerty for three-and-a-half years, Mrs Haggerty for two years and three months - her first custodial sentence.

Four other separate cases from Operation Atlanta, all from last May to July, were also dealt with by the same court.

Irene Plumridge, 37, of Norcliffe Street, North Ormesby, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to 11 offences of supplying Class A drugs between August 12 and September 4 last year.

She was secretly filmed supplying drugs during Operation Atlanta.

She allowed another drug addict to share her home in North Ormesby where she also let users have their "fixes", said prosecutor Richard Parsell.

"In interview she said she felt sorry for people on drugs, and she was helping them out," said Mr Parsell. …

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