Woman exploited by county lines drug gang avoids jail

Sophie Manktelow's flat was taken over by a drug gang. Picture: ARCHANT

Sophie Manktelow's flat was taken over by a drug gang. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A county lines drug gang operating in Suffolk and north Essex used a 26-year-old woman’s flat in Colchester as part of their network, a court heard.

Sophie Manktelow was arrested after police raided a flat in Southway, Colchester, on November 7, 2018, and found four wraps of crack cocaine, 14g of heroin and £883.70 in cash.

Ed Renvoize, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court that the flat was being used to run drugs for the ‘Rico’ and ‘Frank’ county lines in Suffolk and north Essex.

Manktelow, now of Wych Elm, Harlow, pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned with the supply of class A drugs (diamorphine and cocaine) on Tuesday.

Mr Renvoize said the gang were dealing from the flat which Manktelow, a drug addict, resided and there was some evidence recovered from a mobile phone that she played a small part in the dealing herself.

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“She was very far down the food chain as far as this particular operation was concerned,” Mr Renvoize said.

Fiona Robertson, defending, said: “She played no part in the wider conspiracy. She has taken steps to address her own behaviour.”

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Ms Robertson added Manktelow has since engaged with Open Road, a drug and alcohol recovery service based in Colchester.

The court heard that Manktelow had no previous convictions.

Judge Martyn Levett said Manktelow was a “prime example” of someone who was used by a drug syndicate for her flat.

But Judge Levett praised Manktelow for her efforts to tackle her addiction.

Manktelow was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

She must also undertake 20 rehabilitation activity (RA) days.

A teenage killer and two other boys were sentenced for their part in the ‘Rico’ and ‘Frank’ drug lines last week.

Kieran Hayward, 18, who murdered Daniel Saunders in Ipswich, Kieran Elliott, also 18, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, July 13.

Elliott, was handed two years’ detention, suspended for two years, with an electronic curfew for six months, 30 rehabilitation days and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Hayward was given 12 months’ detention to run concurrently with his life term.

The 17-year-old was given an 18-month youth rehabilitation order with intensive supervision, including a three-month curfew.

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