Mum could lose £150k scratchcard winnings after being jailed for dealing drugs

A mum-of-two who scooped £150,000 on a scratchcard could lose her winnings after being jailed for running a major drug dealing operation.

Elaine Hindley's "tick list" was discovered by police during a raid at her home in Toxteth, Liverpool. Officers also discovered a Cartier watch.

The 42-year-old, from Shelmore Drive in Toxteth, ran her dealing business to fund her cocaine addiction, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Her crimes were uncovered when Merseyside Police when her Ford Focus was pulled over in Church Road, Wavertree, on April 10 last year.

Hindley's daughter, 13, was in the car when officers smelled cannabis and noticed the mum "appeared nervous".

Police found a large number of sealable pots while searching the car.

“This is apparently the new practice of supplying cannabis in small pots rather than in snap bags," Michael Stephenson, prosecuting, told the court.

"She was arrested and a search was carried out at her home and in the hallway they recovered a large holdall which had just short of two kilos of female flowering cannabis heads.”

Mr Stephenson said that the drug was in a variety of size bags and they had a total street value of £28,000.

Officers also recovered tick lists of debts as well as paraphernalia including sealable pots and scales.

They also found £5,381 in cash and a receipt for a Cartier watch.

Hindley's lawyer Ken Heckle told Liverpool Crown Court: “By a quirk of fate several weeks ago she had a winning scratch card, which was shared with another person, of £300,000.”

However, this scratchcard win will be taken into account as available assets when a Proceeds of Crime hearing takes place later this year.

The Proceeds of Crime Act (or POCA) allows the police to apply for cash to be seized from criminals who have made their money from ill-gotten gains.

It is typically used after drug dealers have been sentenced and can see criminals forced to sell properties, cars or jewellery that belongs to them to pay the cash back.

The money that is seized is split between the police and the Government and is often used to fund community projects.

Mr Heckle said that although Hindley had not been dealing from the car when stopped by police it was accepted that her two young children “had been exposed to or come across the nature of what she was doing.”

She was the victim of a controlling and coercive relationship with the father of her children and she found him dead from an overdose at her home in December 2018, Mr Heckle said.

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Hindley has been bringing up her daughter and young son, who has autism and ADHD, in difficult circumstances and Mr Heckle said if she was jailed they will have to go into foster care.

Mr Heckle added that she has stopped using cannabis but still has a cocaine problem which is she trying to resolve.

He said she has a foundation degree in stage make-up and following her scratch card windfall “she perceives a brand new life away from all the problems and she very much wants to do that…..She has the ways and means to make a new life for herself.”

Hindley pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply and possessing criminal property.

Judge Stuart Driver, QC, said that from her home she had been “supplying cannabis on a significant scale.”

He told her: “The real aggravating feature is that your two children lived with you in the house which was the venue for drug processing and supply and they must have been perfectly well aware of that because you exposed them to it.”

Jailing her for 12 months, Judge Driver said: “I'm afraid appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate imprisonment but I am going reduce the sentence very significantly to take into account your children.”

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