Woman avoids jail by 'hair's breadth' for dealing drugs from Ipswich flat

Ipswich Crown Court

Rebecca Hibble appeared at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A woman has come 'within a hair's breadth' of going to jail for dealing heroin and crack cocaine from an Ipswich flat.

Rebecca Hibble was handed a suspended prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday for two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and four counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

The 25-year-old had previously admitted the offences at plea hearings before magistrates in February and November.

Prosecutor Lynne Shirley told the court how police raided Hibble's Duke Street flat on January 16 last year after observing two known drug users outside.

When stopped in the stairwell and warned she would be searched, Hibble owned up to being in possession of drugs, and was found with seven wraps of heroin and one wrap of crack cocaine inside a trouser pocket.

Upstairs, police found £1,215.12 cash, more drug wraps, cling film, two sets of scales, and a list of names and addresses.

Hibble made no comment in police interview, other than to deny being a drug user, and was released on bail until being arrested a second time, in nearby Tye Road on April 17, and found with £100 in her bra and 10 drug wraps inside her mouth.

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Hibble told police she had been forced to continue dealing drugs to repay the money lost as a result of her first arrest.  

Recorder Jeremy Benson QC told the court: "Dealing class A drugs is obviously serious because of the misery it causes.

"It's an aggravating feature that, within three months of being arrested, she was doing it again – albeit not on the same scale.

"Because she has kept out of trouble and changed her ways, and because of the amount of time she has waited to be sentenced, it seems to me that she and society would be better served by some constructive disposal, rather than immediate custody.

"This is a very unusual course, given the nature of the offences."

Addressing Hibbert directly, he added: "You will understand that you came within a hair's breadth of going to prison, but I'm impressed with the progress you have made in the last year or so."

Hibbert received a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 35 days' rehabilitation activity requirement, alongside an accredited programme, and 150 hours' unpaid work.

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