Cocaine couple jailed over £100,000 haul

High Court, Edinburgh
High Court, Edinburgh
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A MUM shocked to find cocaine with a street value of more than £100,000 had been stored in her home wept today as she was jailed for two years.

Jo-Anna Wallace, 21, had begged not to be separated from her baby daughter when, at an earlier hearing, she admitted being concerned in the supply of the drug.

Unusually, judge Lord Pentland allowed her and partner Lee Middlemass, 25, to remain on bail pending sentence - so that they could spend more time with their three-month old child.

But today the judge dismissed a plea to allow her to do community service - saying the court would be failing in its duty.

“What sort of message would that send to society and, in particular, to persons further up the drug chain who might be tempted to prey on vulnerable individuals,” he said.

Second-hand car dealer Middlemass, who had also admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine, was jailed for three years and nine months.

He was the one who had turned their spare bedroom into a workshop for adulterating cocaine and packaging it, the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

Advocate depute Adrian Cottam, prosecuting, told how a tip-off sent police to a top floor flat in Thornybank Square, Dalkeith, in October last year.

“During the search the police found within one of the bedrooms a hydraulic press and metal plates. The press was of the type used to compress powder into blocks.”

In another bedroom they found bundles of notes amounting to £7195.

More than a kilo of cocaine was also uncovered, much of it well above the normal purity for street deals along with a chemical used to dilute or “cut” cocaine. Police also found scales and plastic bags.

Mr Cottam said that if sold on the streets at average purity the stash might fetch as much as £104,300.

The prosecutor said it was also accepted that Middlemass was “the principal actor” and Wallace was simply allowing the flat to be used - although benefiting from any profit made by her partner.

Today, defence advocate Victoria Young, said a psychiatrist’s report showed Wallace was “gullible”.

She should have been more suspicious, but when she asked her partner about the hydraulic press, she accepted his assurance that it was connected to his car business.

She was also worried that Middlemass was having an affair while she was pregnant and was shocked when she learned what police searchers had found.

“To an extent, she pulled the wool over her own eyes,” said the lawyer.

“She knew she should have challenged him. She knew she should have done something about it.”

Ms Young asked the court to take an exceptional view because of the circumstances, including the fact that Wallace had been told she could not have her baby with her in Cornton Vale prison.

Solicitor advocate George Pollock, for Middelmass, said he accepted his responsibility - and now regretted it.

Sentencing the couple, Lord Pentland said the motive had been money.

“Neither of you seen to have taken into account the enormous damage Class A drugs cause in communities throughout the country.”