Police discover drugs stuffed in teddy bear at dealers’ Weston home

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:56 24 April 2018

Joanna Dowling. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Joanna Dowling. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A Weston couple have been sentenced after drugs were found in their house and stuffed in a teddy bear.

Police raided the home of Matthew Gilmore and Joanna Dowling, both of Sandford Road, and discovered crack cocaine and heroin at the scene.

During the pair’s sentencing on April 9, Bristol Crown Court heard how police attended the defendants’ Weston address on July 29 last year attempting to arrest a man who was wanted on recall to prison.

Once inside the house, officers found Gilmore, aged 39, sleeping and crack cocaine was discovered on the bedside cabinet.

They then also found a brown powdered substance on cigarette paper, which was suspected to be heroin.

Following the arrest of Dowling, aged 45, a search of her bedroom in the same property was carried out where police found a large quantity of suspected class A drugs which were concealed in a teddy bear.

They also found items such as scales, cling-film and a list of names and amounts believed to be a drug dealers list.

The dealers were believed to be selling drugs to fuel their own addictions and not for commercial gain.

The duo were both charged on multiple counts of being in possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.

Gilmore pleaded guilty to one count of possession and two counts of possession with plans to sell the drugs, however he pleaded not guilty to a third count of the same charge.

The judge indicated a trial was not necessary for the third count based on Gilmore’s previous pleas to the other charges laid against him.

However his girlfriend was found guilty of the two counts of possession with intent to supply after trial.

Dowling was handed two seven-year prison sentences for the two charges which will run concurrently, based on her extensive previous convictions.

Gilmore, on the other hand, was spared prison after being handed an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered by the court to complete six months of drug testing and a rehabilitation requirement.

He was finally told to complete 15 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement as punishment for his crimes.

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