THREE low-level drug addict pushers caught in a police sting pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs when they appeared at Burnley Crown Court.
Husband and wife addicts Alan Rutley and Deborah Hefford, of Spencer Street, Burnley, appeared together. Their children sobbed in court as Rutley (59) was sent down and their mother was given 18 months, suspended for 18 months with supervision and a drugs rehabilitation order.
In a separate hearing, Daniel Conway (33), of Laithe Street, was given a community order with 12 months’ supervision and a drugs rehabilitation order.
The court was told all three had been arrested as part of Operation Bravado, during which an undercover police officer pretended to be an addict and bought drugs in the Barden Lane area of Burnley over several months.
Conway was only involved once, and said he went to a house to buy a £10 deal as a favour to someone he believed was a fellow addict. He pleaded guilty to supplying diamorphine. The court was told he was making impressive progress trying to turn his life around.
Rutley and Hefford both pleaded guilty to supplying heroin and being concerned with the supply of a Class A drug during June and July. They acted as runners when they were asked by the undercover officer for £20 heroin deals and went to someone else to acquire the drugs.
Long-time heroin addict Rutley became involved when he ran out of money after his benefits were stopped. Acting as a pusher meant that he could get the fixes he needed. He supplied four drug deals and was concerned with the fifth deal because he had intended to get the drugs, but his wife beat him to it.
Hefford, the court was told, was addicted to prescription methadone needed for constant pain she endures following a serious road accident. She became involved because she could not bear to see Rutley suffer from withdrawal symptoms. She was vulnerable and had been exploited.