A COUPLE from Newtown have avoided jail after being being found with thousands of pounds worth of heroin hidden inside the female partner's body.

Bruce Edward James Walker, 54, and Joanne Williams, 49, both of Lon Ceirios, Newtown, changed their pleas to guilty at Mold Crown Court where they were due to go on trial charged with possession with intent to supply a Class A drug.

It came after police stopped the couple while they were on their way back from acquiring drugs in Wolverhampton – and taken to Shrewsbury to have the drugs taken out of Williams' genitals by doctors.

Anna Price, prosecuting, said the couple were stopped by police in their Seat Ibiza on the A483 in June 2018, between Refail and Newtown.

When asked whether they were in possession of drugs Walker shouted to Williams "just hand it over and make it easier for us".

Ms Price said Williams was taken to hospital in Shrewsbury where a cling-film package containing 19.7 grammes of heroin was removed from her.

The court heard that the heroin was found to be worth £2,180, the equivalent of 218 street deals. Two mobile phones were also found in the car containing text messages indicative of supplying Class A drugs.

In interview the couple said they had travelled to Wolverhampton for the drugs but they were for their own use.

Probation reports were produced for both defendants which indicated their rehabilitation from their own addictions to drugs had made good progress in the last few years, and neither had offended again since their arrests.

Simon Rogers, defending Walker, and Duncan Bould, defending Williams, both asked Judge Nicola Jones to follow the recommendation of the probation service to suspend any jail sentence.

Addressing Walker and Williams, Judge Jones said: "You were stopped on the A483 and arrested on suspicion with intent to supply a Class A drug.

"You (Williams) had drugs secreted on your person and went to hospital to have them removed, a clear waste of valuable NHS resources.

"In interview you both accepted you went to Wolverhampton to buy drugs. You are both in a far different place to where you are now.

"You said you were dealing to friends but as far as I'm concerned, if they were paying you, then they were customers."

Judge Jones added: "This is an exceptional case.

"There has been an extreme delay and in two years neither of you have committed other offences, one of you is fully abstinent and the other is on the way to becoming fully abstinent from drugs.

"Ordinarily you would go straight to prison for this but the community would be better served by your continued rehabilitation. If you went to prison for five years you'd be back to where you were."

Williams, who is in a wheelchair, was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and has been placed on a six month curfew to remain at home between 7pm and 7am.

Walker was also given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and will carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Both will continue to work with the probation service and carry out rehabilitation requirements, and they will each pay a £140 victim surcharge.