A WOMAN who allowed drug dealers to take over her elderly mother-in-law’s house in Taunton claimed she needed the cash so she could get agency support to help her.

Kelly Jane Ayling admitted she knew the men had been involved in the illegal dealing of class A drugs when she allowed them to “cuckoo” the vulnerable victim’s home.

She later told police she did not know how to get them to leave the address after they had taken over the lounge.

However she said her mother-in-law had not seemed to feel intimidated by their presence saying she was “just enjoying the free crack cocaine”.

The 37-year-old defendant, of Newton Road, Yeovil, was convicted of a charge that, being the occupier of an address in Hope Corner Lane, Taunton, on November 11, 2017, she knowingly permitted or suffered to take place on the premises the supply or attempted supply of a class A drug, namely crack cocaine to another.

She also pleaded guilty to being in possession of 0.1g of crack cocaine on the same date.

Ayling further admitted the theft of meat valued at £55 from the Co-op in Cheddon Road, Taunton, on September 9 last year.

She also admitted stealing meat products worth £81.30 belonging to Lidl at Yeovil on April 14 this year when she appeared in the dock.

Prosecutor Susan Butler said that on November 1 last year police attended an address in Taunton for a welfare check on the occupant as they were concerned her home was being “cuckooed”.

“When they arrived the door was opened by Ayling and they could see a black male inside and expressed concerns for the elderly owner’s safety,” she said.

“Two males were detained while a search was carried out and there were a number of knives on the floor and the table had cling film on it, and when asked if there were any drugs Ayling said that it was her cocaine on the table.

“One of the males had been stopped in other areas of Somerset previously and had been involved in the supply of crack cocaine in the area.”

On April 14 a off-duty police officer heard staff at the Lidl store in Yeovil trying to detain Ayling outside.

She became aggressive and tried to run off so the officer detained her but was unable to search her due to her behaviour.

When she was later searched she was found in possession of goods worth £81.77 that had been stolen from the store, including high value meat products which were returned but deemed unsaleable.

Then on September 9, Ayling went with another female to the Co-op in Cheddon Road, Taunton, and selected a number of pieces of meat and concealed it in a bag.

They both left without making any attempt to pay and the defendant was identified from CCTV.

When she was interviewed by the police she admitted that crack cocaine was found at the address where she was staying with her mother-in-law but said it was for her own personal use.

“When asked if she was given it by the males at the address she confirmed she had been and admitted they were there to deal but then said she did not know who they were.,” said Miss Butler.

“She accepted she had invited them in and that the flat belonged to her mother-in-law, although said the owner was happy for it.

“She said that the people were there to do drug deals and the rocks were given to her for free.

“She said they were dealing in crack cocaine and when asked why she had let them in she said she had been trying to support her mother-in-law who was not eating and in pain.

“She said she allowed people in to deal drugs so she could afford to buy agencies in to support her mother-in-law. She also went shoplifting to get more cash for drugs.

A spokesperson for the Probation Service said that Ayling took full responsibility for the offences and had had issues with crack cocaine since the age of 19.

“She did it to fund her own drug use and permitted her mother-in-law’s property to be used and said she knew the two men involved,” she said.

“She said she had come to an agreement to allow them to stay for a short while if she and her mother-in-law could be given some crack cocaine at the time.

“She is adamant she did not know they were there to deal drugs at first, but after a few hours she felt intimidated and did not know how to get them to leave the property.

“They took over the living room but said her mother-in-law was not intimidated by their presence and was just enjoying the free crack cocaine.”

The court heard that the defendant had little victim awareness and her actions were fueled by her drug dependency were she was using nine bags a day of crack cocaine and heroin.

She was now living at Pathways in Yeovil and was receiving professional support from various agencies. She had been put on a methadone script but was still using drugs on top of that.

Chair of the magistrates Mary Ellis told Ayling they did not think highly of her behaviour saying she had let drug dealers into a property occupied by an elderly and vulnerable person.

“You have admitted you knew she was vulnerable and that was why you were there looking after her,” he said.

“And yet you say that there were people who you knew and you did not know, so we cannot believe either story, however permitting drug dealers into that property was not permissible.”

They sentenced her to a community order with a three month curfew between 6pm and 6am daily while fitted with an electronic tag along with a 25 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

They also ordered her to pay £55 compensation to Co-op and £81.77 to Lidl along with £350 court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.