Jail for Sunderland couple who used their home as a ‘drug shop’

John Monarch and Laura Calvesbert have been jailed for running a 'drug shop' from their Sunderland home.
John Monarch and Laura Calvesbert have been jailed for running a 'drug shop' from their Sunderland home.
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A couple have been jailed after using their home in Sunderland as a “drug shop” to supply class A drugs.

Laura Calvesbert, 32, and John Monarch, 36, were dealing heroin and cocaine from their address in Bambro Street, Hendon.

The pair, who are both drug addicts, had their property searched by police on a number of occasions between June and November 2013.

Tom Moran, prosecuting, referred to the couple as “street dealers” who despite having their home searched, drugs seized and themselves arrested by police, continued to deal drugs.

Mr Moran said: “They were street dealers effectively obtaining their supplies from people.

“Despite them being searched, seized and arrested, the defendants continued as before only for there to be another search, seize and arrest.

“There is no evidence that they have any income other than benefits.”

He told the court the evidence against them came from “observation, video recording, text messages and several searches.”

Newcastle Crown Court heard how their home was searched four times by police in June, July, September and November 2013.

Each time police found Class A drugs as well as significant amounts of money.

During the third search, Monarch tried to swallow a bag or wrap of crack cocaine.

In total £2260 worth of cash was recovered from the two of them.

The court heard how they were supplied with the drugs by another individual and returned some of the profit to them.

Monarch admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and breaching two suspended sentences.

Calvesbert admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and breaching a suspended sentence.

Paul Cross, defending Monarch, said: “Although John Monarch is an offender he’s also a victim. He’s become addicted to this and someone else must have started him off on it.

“They don’t have any money. Although they generated money it all goes on drugs, there’s no wealthy living.

“He didn’t start with a very happy upbringing, while it could be said there is quite a lot of people in that position, it probably doesn’t help and it’s led to him slipping into drugs.

“He’s now been addicted to heroin for the last 15 years.

“He is genuinely regretful of his involvement in this drug related offending and his own failure to address it.”

Nick Lane, defending Calvesbert, told the court: “Laura Calvesbert, a woman of 32, has been using drugs for some 13 years at the time of this offending and was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.

“No money was generated and no evidence of a flash life style. She is now on methadone.

“She has used her time well. It’s her first experience of custody and it’s not one she is keen to repeat.

“She is responsible for new starters on the cleaning team at the prison as a result of her hard work over the past six months.”

Judge Robin Mairs told them: “What you did in essence was to run a drug shop, supplying class A drugs to those who wish to use them.

“Despite repeated police searches been executed and repeated arrests you continued to offend in exactly the same way.”

Judge Mairs sentenced Monarch, of Bambro Street, Hendon, to four years and nine months in prison.

Calvesbert, of the same address, was jailed for four years and three months.