Married couple seen selling drugs by undercover police

Police custody photos of Cerys Horlick (left) and Benjamin Constance
-Credit: (Image: South Wales Police)

A married couple were caught red-handed selling cocaine on the street after being spotted by plain-clothed police officers. When officers searched Cerys Horlick and Benjamin Constance's car they found a stash of cocaine in the glovebox with more of the Class A drug subsequently found in Horlick's bra.

Swansea Crown Court heard both defendants were addicted to crack cocaine and were dealing to pay off a £4,000 debt to those higher up the supply chain. Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said on the evening of February 26 this year plain-clothed police officers were in an unmarked car in Clydach in the Swansea Valley.

He said at 9.15pm the officers were in Ffynon Wen when they saw Horlick approach the window of a parked car and conduct an "exchange" before returning to a nearby Volkswagen T-Roc vehicle being driven by her partner Constance. Believing they had just witnessed a drug deal the officers swooped on the VW and identified themselves as police. The court heard officers searched the car and found 6.2g of cocaine in the glovebox and on the centre console. The defendants were arrested and their phones were seized.

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The prosecutors said Horlick and Constance were taken to Swansea Central police station where they were searched and in Horlick's bra officers found another 2.7g of cocaine. Horlick's home was searched and a so-called tick-list of monies owed, weighing scales, a metal drugs press, bicarbonate of soda – a popular "cutting" agent for bulking out drug deals – and a burner phone were recovered. When the defendants' phones were examined officers found messages relating to the supply and delivery of drugs and relating to the purchase of drugs from various locations in Neath and Swansea. In his interview Constance said the couple were dealing to pay off a £4,000 drug debt and he admitted to having smoked crack in the car before the police had arrived.

Cerys Horlick, aged 25, of Glan yr Afon, Ystradgynlais, Swansea Valley, and 41-year-old Benjamin Constance, of Gwilym Road, Cwmllynfell, had both previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine when they appeared in the dock for sentencing. Horlick has no previous convictions while Constance has 13 previous convictions for 24 offences including six for the simple possession of cannabis and heroin and two for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The second of these convictions from 2009 – which was accompanied by a conviction for robbery – saw Constance being given a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP). He was out of prison on IPP licence when he committed the drug-dealing offence and was recalled to prison by the Home Office following his arrest in Clydach.

James Hartson, for Horlick, said despite "particularly difficult childhood experiences" his client had obtained GCSEs and worked in a number of jobs including in a restaurant, in a school for youngsters with learning difficulties, and as a personal carer. He said Horlick was vulnerable and had married her co-defendant some two months after meeting him and he said prior to meeting her now-husband she had not used crack cocaine. The barrister said references before the court all spoke of his client as being kind, generous, and bright and he said she was a devoted mother to her son.

Dan Griffiths, for Constance, said the defendant realised that a prison sentence was inevitable and that the length of time he has to serve will be determined by the Parole Board. He said his client had an "extensive drug habit" at the time of the offending and by his own admission was smoking 4g out of every 7g of crack he was buying. He said in his submission the dealing operation his client and partner had been involved in was an "amateurish" one as evidenced by the messages recovered from their phones which included complaints about the quality of the cocaine they were supplying.

Judge Huw Rees said those who peddle Class A drugs are involved in peddling social discord, illnesses, and even death and for that reason can expect custodial sentences. He said it was clear from Constance's antecedent record that he had been violent as a younger man and he told Horlick that in going out dealing drugs she had abrogated her responsibility to her son. With one-third discounts for their guilty pleas Constance was sentenced to 40 months in prison and Horlick to 24 months. Defendants ordinarily serve up to half their sentences in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community but in the case of Constance he will only be released when the Parole Board is satisfied he can be safely managed in the community.

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