Drugs grandma avoids jail term

SUSPENDED SENTENCE: Beverley Rowbotham
SUSPENDED SENTENCE: Beverley Rowbotham
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A GRANDMOTHER who was caught holding fake ecstasy tablets when police raided her home has avoided an immediate jail term.

Beverley Rowbotham had 330 tablets that she wrongly believed were the Class A drug.

The 47-year-old also had around 250 grams of amphetamine powder which she intended to deal to anyone who came to her house to fund her own amphetamine use.

Her four-year-old grandson was also in the house at the time police arrived with a search warrant.

Teesside Crown Court heard Rowbotham was holding the tablets for a friend and intended to give them back.

Police also found packets of amphetamine inside two purses in the living room and a cutting agent to make the drug go further.

Prosector Tamara Pawson said the amphetamine was of low purity with a street value of £1,350.

Rowbotham was convicted of attempting to possess a Class A drug with intent to supply over the fake ecstasy and of possession of a Class B drug with intent to supply for the amphetamine.

She was found guilty by a jury after a trial in December.

The trial heard that when police officers asked her during the search what the tablets were she said “they’re Es I’m holding for a friend”.

Tests later proved they were not an illegal drug.

At the time Rowbotham was subject to a 12 month conditional discharge for possessing amphetamine.

Peter Sabiston, mitigating, said she had a long history of depression and anxiety after a troubled life including losing a child to cot death.

He said since her arrest in July 2011 she had received specialist help from mental health professionals and to get off drugs.

“Any custodial sentence would be devastating for her,” he said.

Rowbotham, of Morton Street, Hartlepool, was given two years’ prison suspended for 12 months with 12 months’ probation.

Recorder Adrian Waterman said of the ecstasy: “On any view, given the jury’s finding, you must have known that they were intended for supply commercially.

“In each case the offending is further aggravated by your previous convictions for possessing amphetamine, for which you were still subject to a court order, and you were in the presence of a young child.

“This is a case where I have seriously considered sending you immediately to prison and I have just decided that the mitigating factors allow me to suspend it.”