Mum-of-six on benefits used drug cash for life of luxury in council house

Kelly Atcheson of Haverhill, Suffolk

Kelly Atcheson has been jailed for four years - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A mother-of-six who used money from drug-dealing to buy designer clothes, jewellery, handbags and expensive furnishings for her council house has been jailed for four years.

Police officers who kept watch on Kelly Atcheson’s hone in Sorrel Walk, Haverhill, over three days in May last year saw around 30 known drug users visit the premises, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

During their observations, they saw 51-year-old Atcheson repeatedly reach into a fence panel in her garden where drugs were stored, said David Wilson, prosecuting.

He said that when police raided Atcheson’s property, they found a black bag containing 16.2g of cocaine - worth £800 - hidden in the fence.

Inside the council house, they found it had been furnished to a high standard and a new kitchen had been fitted.

Officers also found designer handbags, jewellery and Versace clothes.

Mr Wilson said Atcheson, who had been on benefits, had admitted money laundering involving £35,980 which included purchases of £11,000, unexplained bank credits of £14,000 and the repayment of a £10,000 loan which was used to help buy a property in Turkey.

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Atcheson, 51, admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply, being concerned in the supply of cocaine and converting criminal property.

Also before the court was Leonard Whistlecraft, 41, of Meadowsweet Close, Haverhill, who admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of cocaine between January and May last year.

He was also jailed for four years, less time spent on a qualifying curfew.

Mr Wilson said that police officers who went to Whistlecraft’s home in June last year found £6,000 cash and 42g of cocaine worth £2,000 in a safe.

Charles Evans, for Atcheson, said she had become involved in the supply of cocaine to friends and friends of friends due to financial pressures.

He said she had been in custody for 14 months.

Charlene Sumnall, for Whistlecraft, said her client had held drugs and money for Atcheson and had sold cocaine to other users to fund his spiralling cocaine addiction.

She said unlike Atcheson, he didn’t have the trappings of wealth and hadn’t spent money on designer goods.

She said Whistlecraft, who has a five-year-old son, had been a model prisoner while he’d been in custody.

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