Heroin and crack cocaine dealer caught by chance when police pulled her over for speeding

Drug dealer Danielle Stafford
Danielle Stafford, 29, was arrested after police pulled over her car for speeding. (MEN Media)

A drug dealer who sold heroin and crack cocaine to fund her lavish lifestyle was caught by chance when police stopped her car for speeding.

Danielle Stafford, 29, was arrested when officers smelled cannabis coming from her vehicle and then found a bag of the drug worth £1,308 behind the driver's seat, Hull Crown Court heard.

They also found a constantly pinging iPhone, which rang with 30 calls and up to 20 drug-related messages immediately after the arrest.

On the way to the station, Stafford was seen "fidgeting" with her jogging bottoms and she was asked if she had any more drugs hidden.

She pulled out a bag of crack cocaine valued at £2,800 from her trousers, but told officers: "It's not mine and I don't know what it is."

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A luxury-loving woman secretly funded a lavish lifestyle of designer handbags, foreign holidays, buying a second house and living without touching any of her job salary by selling heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.

Engineer and University of Hull graduate Danielle Stafford had a long-running
Stafford went on foreign holidays and bought a second home without touching her legitimate salary. (MEN Media)

Police searched Stafford’s home in Cottingham, East Yorkshire, and found £26,917 in cash and drugs with a street value of £33,600.

The haul included a glass jar filled with 270 wraps of crack cocaine worth £13,500 and 205 wraps of heroin valued at £4,100 hidden behind a bag of coal bricks in a garden coal bunker.

It also included several stashes of cannabis worth thousands of pounds, ecstasy tablets and several bundles of banknotes in multiple places.

Stafford denied having anything to do with the majority of the haul, but admitted owning a stash of cannabis worth £370, some scales and food bags, three Louis Vuitton handbags and nine watches.

She told police that a man from Liverpool had been staying with her on and off, claiming he had left drugs and cash at her home.

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But prosecutor Nadim Bashir told the court that Stafford, who worked as an engineer for Swift Group, was an "enthusiastic" cannabis dealer before progressing to sell cocaine.

"The amount, type and value of drugs found at her home were substantial. It is, frankly, absurd to suggest that they were for her personal use or even belonged to some other unknown third party," he said.

"Her wages were paid into the bank account but were left to accrue because she never withdrew any cash for her day-to-day expenditure. She didn't need to because she was awash with cash from her drug-dealing business."

Examination of Stafford's bank accounts revealed "she clearly had an additional stream of cash income" aside from her monthly pay from her day job, Bashir said.

She had taken holidays with no sign of her using her bank account to make purchases overseas, suggesting she was using her drug money.

Stafford had bought her Cottingham home in March 2016 for £124,999 in her sole name with a mortgage, buying a second home in July 2018 without a mortgage for £68,500 with the proceeds of her drug sales.

The defendant told police she wanted to rent the second home out, but Bashir said even then she didn’t have enough legitimate income to account for the properties.

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Stafford admitted three offences related to supplying heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis, and another charge of possessing cash as criminal property.

She originally denied nine offences, but later pleaded guilty to four charges after the prosecution opened its case.

The court heard how police recovered messages on Stafford’s phone dating back to October 2017, instructing another woman to complete cannabis deals in her absence, one saying: "Make sure he pays."

They found a group message sent by Stafford advertising a list of cannabis types and prices, a list of people owing and owed money, and evidence of cocaine dealing.

"This went completely unnoticed by the police until one day in May 2020 when her manner of driving was noticed by the police and was the start of this case unravelling before her very eyes," said Bashir.

Stafford's sentencing was adjourned to a later date, and the defendant, who has no previous convictions, was allowed bail.