Elderly couple jailed over son's heroin stash at their home

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An elderly couple who kept heroin for their son, a drug addict, have been jailed for a year. George Elliott, 75, and his wife Gwendoline, 72, felt pressured by their son Christopher to look after his stash of drugs, Norwich Crown Court heard. But no action is to be taken against Christopher after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge him because of insufficient evidence.

An elderly couple who kept heroin for their son, a drug addict, have been jailed for a year. George Elliott, 75, and his wife Gwendoline, 72, felt pressured by their son Christopher to look after his stash of drugs, Norwich Crown Court heard. But no action is to be taken against Christopher after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge him because of insufficient evidence.

The couple were arrested after police found the heroin, with a street value of £200 to £380, hidden in George Elliott's shoe. Detectives also found £1,015 in cash in the raid at their home in Thetford, Norfolk, on 2 December last year.

The couple, who have been married more than 50 years, admitted keeping the drugs for Christopher, 39, and knowing he intended to supply them. Christopher, who has previous convictions for drugs offences and shoplifting, was arrested at the same time but released.

A neighbour of the couple, who asked not to be named, said: "It is outrageous that they have been jailed for so long.

"It looks like their son wanted them to look after the drugs because he knew the police would be keeping an eye on him.

"He used to come round and have furious rows with them. He must have leant on them and made them co-operate. They are a pleasant elderly couple who have never done anything else wrong in their lives. They just don't deserve to be separated and sent to jail." Mr and Mrs Elliott, who also have a second son with drug problems, admitted being concerned in the supply of class-A drugs between 25 November and 3 December.

Recorder Alan Steynor described the case as "extremely sad". As he jailed the couple, he told them: "I have no doubt that it is the misdemeanours of your son that led both of you to come before this court."

But he said that he would be failing in his duty if he did not impose a custodial sentence. He added that the couple were aware of the misery that was caused by drugs as both of their sons had drug problems.

"You knowingly took the drugs into your home knowing it was Christopher Elliott's intention to supply them to others," he said. The judge said that the message had to go out that anyone dealing in class-A drugs was likely to face jail. Making older people "custodians" for drugs did not mean that they would escape punishment, he added. "Whether drugs are made available by elderly people or young people, it makes no difference to the devastating effect it has on the community."