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Pair in court for drug dealing, while woman laundered cash

Judge tells man: "I only have to look at you to see you have a cannabis addiction"

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

Court

A NEWBURY woman ‘laundered’ thousands of pounds for her drug dealing boyfriend.

When police raided the home they shared, they found potent ‘skunk’ cannabis stashed in jars and thousands of pounds in cash – the result of the pair’s “relatively sophisticated” drug supply operation, a judge said.

Georgina Emily Blackburn, of Fifth Road, appeared for sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, alongside Jamie Craig Riley, aged 29, who now lives in Wensley Road, Reading.

Both had previously admitted possessing 446.45 grams of cannabis with intent to supply it to others in Newbury on January 19 last year.

Blackburn – who is now estranged from Riley – had initially denied also ‘laundering’ proceeds of the illegal operation between July 1, 2017, and January 20 last year.

She later changed her plea to guilty.

John Coates, prosecuting, said cannabis found at the home had a street value of £4,500 and a substantial sum had gone through Blackburn’s account over a six-month period.

He said Riley had previous convictions for possessing cannabis and the designer drug mephedrone.

He had been cautioned for burglary and cannabis possession, the court heard.

Steve Molloy, mitigating for Riley, said his client was now in full-time employment and was “moving in the right direction”.

Blackburn handed the judge a lengthy letter in which she made a series of allegations against her former boyfriend.

However, Judge Paul Dugdale said he would not be taking that into account when sentencing Riley.

Tom Blackburn, defending Blackburn, offered no mitigation after Judge Dugdale said he would not be sending his client to prison after reading pre-sentence reports.

Judge Dugdale told the pair: “When the police came to your address they found a significant amount of skunk cannabis there and a lot of cash.”

The court heard that, in a pre-sentence report, Riley had suggested he needed to smoke cannabis to get him through the trauma of a hair transplant and that he considered himself a “successful gambler”.

Judge Dugdale said: “You’re a fool. There’s a tendency for people to say ‘lots of people smoke cannabis, it’s a soft drug – what’s the problem?’.”

The judge said he knew of many young cannabis smokers who had ended up with “drug-induced psychosis, primarily due to skunk cannabis”.

Judge Dugdale went on: “It wrecks their lives – they can’t go on to hold jobs; they often can’t go on to have a proper relationship and often go on to take their own lives.

“You need to wise up.

“I only need to look at you through the glass [of the dock] to see you have a cannabis addiction.

“It might not be as bad as having a smack [heroin] habit, but it’s not far off.”

He told Blackburn: “You allowed your bank account to be used.

“You should never have allowed yourself to be involved in the world of cannabis smoking.

“The more you get involved in it, the more it takes over your life.”

Judge Dugdale said he accepted that Blackburn’s was the “lesser role” in the drug-dealing operation.

He sentenced Riley to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

In addition, he ordered him to carry out 150 hours unpaid community work.

Blackburn was made subject to a 12-month community order and ordered to attend a Thinking Ahead for Women course.

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