Drug-dealing Portsmouth couple spared prison after being caught with £100,000 cash

A COUPLE caught with weapons, drugs and bundled cash of nearly £100,000 from ‘large scale dealing’ were spared jail.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 11:54 am
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 4:44 pm

Long-term Hilsea couple Kevin Franks and Kerry Ewington, both 49, were in the dock at Portsmouth Crown Court after 7.5kg of cannabis worth about £30,000 was discovered at their home.

A stun gun and CS gas canister were also found while Ewington admitted money laundering between January 2013 and July 31 last year after ‘unexplained’ large deposits had been made into her bank totalling £78,191, with £9,605 made in 2018/19.

The court heard how the pair were busted when Franks’ vehicle was pulled over by police on July 25 in Milton Road where they discovered a weapon and cash.

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Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: César Moreno Huerta

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‘Police searched the vehicle and found bundles of cash which turned out to be worth £78,895,’ prosecutor Timothy Compton said.

Officers then went to Franks’ home in Oriel Road, where he lived with Ewington, where they discovered large sums of cash scattered throughout the home along with cannabis - including three blocks of cannabis resin - and a stun gun.

‘There were large sums of cash,’ Mr Compton said. ‘In a Tesco bag there was £3,500 cash. Another £10,970 was unaccounted cash and cash in a handbag of £1,165, as well as a cocaine worth £200.

‘In total £96,393.09 cash was seized.’

Both were arrested by police with Franks admitting he was an ‘idiot’ before claiming he had ‘saved the money over a number of years’.

He said his partner was not involved in drug dealing before adding: ‘I don’t sell drugs.’

Ewington told police cash found to belong to her was from presents, while claiming deposits in her bank were payouts from a saving scheme and her dead uncle.

But it was all a sham with the couple’s barefaced lies exposed.

Judge Roger Hetherington accepted mitigation from the defendants’ lawyers that the pair, to some extent, turned to the illegal operation to pay-off dealers after their son owed £20,000.

‘Your son got involved with drug dealers and your plea is your involvement was to earn money to pay-off his drug debt,’ the judge said.

‘There were threats made against you (Franks) with an Osman warning given to you (where police have intelligence of a real and immediate threat to life).

‘There were elements of coercion and pressure that gave rise to offending on your part.’

But the judge held back from sending the pair to jail after highlighting the impact it would have on their young son – not the elder son who owed a drug debt.

Franks, who admitted possessing a prohibited weapon, two counts of possession with intent to sell class B drugs and possessing criminal property, was given 16 months jail suspended for two years, 150 hours’ unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days.

Ewington, who admitted possessing a class A drug, possessing criminal property, possessing a prohibited weapon and money laundering, received 12 months jail suspended for two years, 100 hours’ unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days.