Northern Ireland news

Mother of seven caught with heroin placed on probation

Tracie Bell, from Castlereagh Street in Belfast, was placed on probation

A MOTHER of seven who was caught with heroin after she was stopped and searched by police has been placed on probation for two years.

Tracie Bell, from Castlereagh Street in Belfast, was told by Judge RoseAnn McCormick QC: "This is not an easy way of you getting away with what you have done with these drugs offences. You really will have to work hard with probation in order to make the most of this."

Belfast Crown Court heard that on September 13, 2017, Bell and a male were seen acting suspiciously in the Castle Street area. The pair walked to Queen Street, and were observed "checking over their shoulders constantly as if they were worried about being followed".

The 32-year old was stopped and searched by police, and three wraps of heroin were found. Her home was subsequently searched, and other drugs including Diamorphine were seized. Also located during the search was a list of telephone numbers and digital scales.

When Bell was arrested on September 14 that year, she gave a 'no comment' response to officers. She was charged with four offences, which she denied, but she later pleaded guilty to all the charges, including possessing the Class A drug heroin, and possessing Diamorphine with intent to supply.

Prior to sentencing, Judge McCormick was told that whilst Bell was a heroin addict, she had sought held to address her issues. This, the court heard, included working with the Belfast Community Addiction Service.

It also emerged that Bell is currently "separated from her seven children" and has mental and physical health issues.

Addressing Bell, Judge McCormick told her while she had "squandered a number of options to get your life together" in the past, she had also "taken a number of steps" recently to deal with her addictions.

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