Leeds skunk dealer tried to escape onto roof as police raided house in Lower Wortley

A Leeds dealer running a "street-level cannabis shop" tried to escape police by climbing onto the roof of a house - before dumping two boxes filled with drugs.

By Abbey Maclure
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:14 pm

Leeds Crown Court heard how officers raided a house in Bangor Street, Farnley, on June 25, 2020.

No one was inside, but police believe that Cameron Taylor and his co-defendant, Jodie Coleman, were living there.

Quantities of cannabis with an estimated street value of £400 were found, as well as drugs packaging and £465 of cash in the kitchen.

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Leeds Crown Court

The police also found dealer lists suggesting sales to the value of £1,470 had taken place.

After 29-year-old Taylor's fingerprints were found on the drugs packaging, officers went back to the property on December 7 that year to arrest him.

Coleman, 28, answered the door while Taylor was upstairs. He tried to escape through the roof, but was caught by police.

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Two boxes were found on the roof containing 223.4g of cannabis skunk, with an estimated street value of £1,865.

An iPhone Six was also seized and found to contain "drug dealing messages", prosecutor Nick Addlington said.

When Coleman was interviewed by police, she said she lived at the house and Taylor stayed there from time to time, as did a third co-defendant, Ben Lacey-Ashworth.

She said Taylor smoked cannabis, but denied any knowledge of the drugs that were found.

Taylor gave a similar account when interviewed, telling police that any drugs and cash found during the first search had "nothing to do with him, he had no knowledge of them”.

He admitted the drugs found in the second search were his, but said he separated the amounts out to make sure he didn’t take too much at a time. He said the packaging belonged to Lacey-Ashworth.

Taylor later mentioned he owed £4,000 to a Traveller from when he was 18, saying he was scared of them and was selling drugs to pay the debt.

The court heard he had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply cannabis at an earlier hearing.

He has previous convictions dating back to 2013, and was under conditional discharge for possession of cannabis at the time of the offences.

Mitigating for Taylor, Shila Whitehead said: "Life has moved on quite positively for him.

"There’s a nine-year-old boy who relies on him, his grandparents rely on him, he’s got the availability of a job.”

Coleman pleaded not guilty to the first count of possession with intent to supply cannabis, relating to the drugs found in the first police raid, which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

She admitted the second count of possession with intent to supply cannabis, relating to the drugs found during the second search.

The court heard she has four previous convictions dating back to 2008, but none relating to drugs and none in the last 10 years.

Adrian Pollard, mitigating, said: "She deeply regrets and is remorseful for allowing this to happen."

Taylor, of Owlcotes Road, Pudsey, was given a 15 month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months, as well as 200 hours of unpaid work.

Coleman, of Amberley Gardens, Leeds, was sentenced to a community order of 12 months, as well as being given a one-month curfew order from 10pm-6am.

Passing his sentence, Judge Robin Mairs said that Taylor was running a "street-level cannabis dealing shop" at the time of the police raids but that appeared to have stopped since.

He said: "In that delay between that final offence and today, the efforts both of you have made in that period to sort your lives out enables me to avoid immediate custody in both of your cases.

“Cameron, you must understand that if you breach the order, or do any more offending… a breach will bring you back to court and there is nothing the court can do other than to send you through that door and off to Armley.

“But that’s up to you. The ball is firmly in your court.”

Ben Lacey-Ashworth, 19, of Chichester Street, Armley, is due to be sentenced on Friday June 17.