A CAFÉ supervisor who was arrested at work for dealing cocaine has avoided a prison sentence.

Louise Bugby, 43, of Tenby Court in Monkton, appeared at Swansea Crown Court accused of dealing cocaine over a three-month period in 2022.

Police became aware of Bugby’s dealing when, during an unconnected investigation, they checked the messages on a drug user’s phone, prosecutor Sian Cutter said. Among the messages were ones to a contact ‘Louise’ asking for drugs.

The number was linked to Bugby, and police found that the drug user had been seen going to Tesco in Pembroke Dock, where the defendant worked in the café.

Officers arrested Bugby at the café on November 9, 2022.

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Ms Cutter said that Bugby admitted having drugs on her – with officers finding 0.38 grams of cocaine.

Her home was searched, and the police recovered 14 bags of cocaine totalling 5.8 grams, which when sold as underweight half-gram amounts would be worth more than £700.

Bugby was interviewed twice, but answered no comment in each interview.

She initially pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and being concerned in the supply of cocaine on the basis that she had inherited a drug debt from her abusive husband after he had been jailed.

Ms Cutter said: “It is accepted that her husband is in prison for offences against her, but it isn’t accepted she was forced to pay off his drug debt. There is no evidence he had a drug debt.”

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, later fully accepted the charges.

“She is deeply remorseful and is ashamed,” said Emily Bennett, in mitigation.

“The defendant did continue to sell drugs without her husband’s involvement.”

Ms Bennett said Bugby had been the victim of domestic abuse over her 19 year relationship with her now-former husband.

“The defendant’s experience of domestic abuse at the time clouded her judgement leading to her doing something she wouldn’t normally do,” she said.

Ms Bennett said there had been “a significant delay” in bringing the case to court.

Bugby was arrested and first interviewed on November 9, 2022, before being interviewed again in April last year. She was only charged this January.

Ms Bennett said the defendant had not reoffended since.

Sentencing Bugby, Judge Huw Rees said: “Class A drugs are poisoning the communities in we are living all over Wales. Class A drugs can cause social disfunction. They can cause injury. They can cause even death. You must understand that.

“The probation officer was able to verify your accounts of domestic violence.

“I have to bear the context of that in mind.”

Judge Rees said that Bugby’s husband had a “dominant role” in her life “whether he was involved in drugs or not”.

He added that the delay in the case coming to court was “intolerable”, and cited this “in particular” as a reason why Bugby would not face an immediate prison sentence.

Bugby was sentenced to 22 months, suspended for two years, running concurrently for each offence. She must complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

She will face Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings to recover any profits from her offending.