Milkman and his wife delivered cocaine in 'extremely unsophisticated operation'

A milkman and his wife were stopped by police as they were out delivering drugs in Billingham.

Steven Halliday, 32, immediately told police "there's a bag under the seat and it's mine", as Kirstie Halliday, 31, "appeared nervous" when officers started searching their black BMW, on High Grange Avenue, on the evening of January 14.

The couple had £1,040 worth of cocaine stashed in 38 separate plastic snap bags, alongside a box full of new snap bags. Text messages on Kirstie Halliday's mobile also showed details of drug deals being arranged.

On Friday, Steven Halliday's barrister told Teesside Crown Court that his client had become a milkman after giving up his HGV job. The court heard that the hours away driving lorries took him away from his family and caused "a strain on his relationship with his wife."

Prosecuting, Ellen Wright said: "It's perhaps poetic justice that he's now spending more time away from his children than ever before."

Steven Halliday was taken into custody on remand, after he pleaded guilty to the possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply, on January 15. Kirstie Halliday initially denied the offence but later pleaded guilty before her trial began.

The court heard that after Halliday left his job with the haulage company where he had worked for for seven years, his milk round meant taking a significant pay cut. "He started selling drugs to make a little bit of money - that's the bottom line," Ms Wright continued.

"He has a drug habit too - that he can't afford. He has been struggling in custody. He's never sat before a court before and now he's doing four-months in Durham Prison."

In mitigation for Kirstie Halliday, Vicky Lamballe said that her client "would never have got into this offending if her husband hadn't got into it. Ms Halliday is terrified of the prospect of custody."

Judge Jonathan Carroll told the pair, who have four children between them: "You had got onto the first rung of the ladder of commercial drug dealing. You lacked the skills to evade detection. There were already police intelligence reports about you.

"This was an extremely unsophisticated operation. It was absolutely bound to come to the attention of the police."

The Hallidays, of Cornwall Crescent in Billingham, were each handed two-year prison terms, suspended for two years. They were put under an intensive supervision order, which involves regular appointments in court and with the probation service.

The couple were both ordered to attend 40 rehabilitation days and put under a two-year drug rehabilitation order, which involves random drug testing. They will both be fitted with electronic tags and a three-month curfew from 7pm to 7am was imposed. They will also be under GPS monitoring for the next six-months.

Kirstie Halliday was also handed a 12-month mental health treatment order and 180-hours of unpaid work. Meanwhile, Steven Halliday must carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.

"I'm told you have discussed this with your barristers and you believe you have the strength of character to carry this out," the judge told them. "Be under no illusion, the number of appointments you must attend, the frequency of returning to court to see me - it's frankly the equivalent of a full time job.

"I will send you to prison if I feel there is a lack of determination on your parts, to see it through."