Police's sense of smell lands woman in court on drugs charge

When the police went to put a Rugby woman's dog back in her home after arresting her over a neighbours' dispute, they noticed the distinct smell of cannabis.

Monday, 13th March 2017, 12:13 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:07 am
Joanna Diston NNL-170313-115917001

And when they searched Joanna Diston’s home they found a quantity of the drug and evidence that she had been dealing, Warwick Crown Court has heard.

Diston, 29, of Berrybanks, Bilton, Rugby, was given a 12-month community order, with a rehabilitation requirement, after pleading guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply it.

Prosecutor Stuart Clarkson said that at around midnight on August 1 last year, the police were called to Berrybanks because of a report of a neighbours’ dispute.

As a result, Diston was arrested, but before she could be taken away, her Labrador dog had to be put inside. And when the officers took the dog into the kitchen of her home, they could smell cannabis.

They found seven grams of the drug in the kitchen, and when they searched the rest of the property they discovered a further 163 grams in the bedroom, together with a set of scales and some small plastic ‘dealer bags.’

Mr Clarkson observed: “It’s clearly very low-level dealing, and the telephone evidence from her mobile phone also evidenced low-level dealing.”

Tim Sapwell, defending, said: “She’s an unusual character to see before the court for an offence like this.

“She has got to the age of 29 without any convictions, which is impressive for someone with the background set out in the pre-sentence report.

“She first encountered class A drugs when she was 11 in the family setting. It is a distressing tale.”

He pointed out that only two out of 154 text messages on Diston’s phone had anything to do with drugs.

“She was involved in this because of her class A drug addiction, and she was also using cannabis herself.

“She has taken steps to address her addiction and is living in supported accommodation after going into rehab in Luton.”

Recorder Roger Evans commented: “She has shown the grit to sort herself out, which is the most important thing.”

And he told Diston: “Because of the mitigation, and in particular your own steps you have taken to address your drug problems, this can properly be dealt with by a community order.”