Sleepy Wakefield drug dealer spared custody despite arriving hours late for court

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A sleepy drug dealer who says she did not set an alarm for her court appearance turned up hours late, but was still spared custody.

Sarah Gibson was due to appear at Leeds Crown Court this week at 10am, but her case did not start until nearly 1pm after she initially failed to show. A bench warrant for her arrest was initially ordered, but withdrawn when she arrived.

The 45-year-old admitted five charges of selling heroin and crack cocaine after being stung in a police operation in late 2022 and early 2023. It was part of Operation Midview by West Yorkshire Police to help smash drug dealing in Wakefield.

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Prosecutor Emma Handley said officers got hold of a known drugs phone line and posed as addicts, putting in orders for both heroin and crack. Gibson arrived on several occasions to hand over small wraps of the drugs and take the money. She was eventually arrested on October 11 last year, but refused to answer questions during her police interview.

Gibson was late for court, but was still spared custody for dealing in crack cocaine and heroin. (pics by PA / National World)Gibson was late for court, but was still spared custody for dealing in crack cocaine and heroin. (pics by PA / National World)
Gibson was late for court, but was still spared custody for dealing in crack cocaine and heroin. (pics by PA / National World) | PA / National World

The court heard that Gibson, of Manor Road, Wakefield, has 10 previous convictions for 26 offences, included drug-related matters. A probation report, prepared when she finally arrived at court, was read out and suggested she was late due to having no alarm to wake her. She herself has a “long-standing” issue with drugs and “continued to struggle”.

But the report suggested she had finally “got a grip” on her drug use thanks to the counselling service, Turning Point, and was reducing her intake. Gibson and her partner also had previously their flat taken over by drug dealers, but they had been removed and the couple were back living there.

No further mitigation was offered by her barrister when Judge Christopher Batty said he would not lock her up. He made reference to an incident that had previously befallen her, which he did disclose to the court. He said this was the reason why he would not send her to custody.

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He said: “It’s only because of what happened to you, it must have been absolutely awful.” Due to “exceptional circumstances” he suspended her 16-month jail sentence for 18 months. He also gave her a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 rehabilitation days with probation.

Referring to her drug habit, he told her: “What’s really important now is that you get this sorted.”