Dealer hid cannabis in Bag for Life at Banbury’s ‘mother-in-law’

A man was using his girlfriend’s mother’s house as a base to sell cannabis.

When police raided Joanne Turner’s home in Easington Road, Banbury last summer, they found a quarter of a kilo of Class B drugs hidden in a Sainsbury’s Bag for Life. Also found inside the bag were cash receipts as well as the Callum Banner dealer’s bank card and driver’s license.

Messages found on both of their phones linked them to the cannabis supply. In the case of Banner, 21, the operation dated back to 2019, while “mother-in-law” Turner, 43, offered to put customers in touch with him when they couldn’t reach the dealership.

Prosecutor Peter Pride told Oxford Crown Court on Thursday the drugs found in the raid were worth £1,300 on the wholesale market, but up to £3,400 if sold in small street deals.

By convicting the couple, Judge Michael Gledhill QC spared the two defendants immediate prison sentences.

But in a parting shot, he warned them: “You have been treated in the opinion of some people, when they heard of it, with extreme indulgence. But you heed my words: you have escaped prison by the skin of your teeth.

Banner, of Edinburgh Way, Banbury, admitted to being involved in supplying cannabis and possession with intent to supply the class B drug. Turner, of Easington Road, Banbury, pleaded guilty to being involved in supplying a Class B drug. Neither had prior convictions.

The lifetime bag in which the drugs were found Image: TVP

Peter du Feu, mitigating for Banner, said his client turned to selling cannabis after becoming addicted to the drug. “It all got a little too easy,” the lawyer said.

In the year since his arrest, he has changed his life. He returned to live with his own parents and had become a father for the first time.

In a character reference, Banner’s partner described him as “really amazing to me and our daughter.” His parents said he was a “loving dad”.

Co-defendant Turner was not represented at Thursday’s hearing because her lawyer was participating in the Criminal Bar Association’s nationwide walkout to protest legal aid fees.

Tearful Turner, who asked to be sentenced without her lawyer present, told the judge: “I’m so sorry.”

Sentencing Banner to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, Judge Gledhill said: ‘The message needs to get out of this court that if people like you choose to sell cannabis, jail time ensues, but it there is enough mitigation to suspend your sentence.”

He told Turner, who was given a three-month suspended sentence for a year: “What’s a 43-year-old woman doing by allowing a young man who’s been dating your daughter to sell drugs for your house?”

The defendants must each complete 20 probation sessions and pay £225 in costs to the Crown. Banner must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as a forensic and crime reporter from Oxfordshire.

To contact him, email: [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward

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