An "exploited" nan had £35k worth of drugs delivered to her home by a taxi driver before they were found in her kitchen.
David Williams, from West Derby, would take the 350 mile round trip from Liverpool to Newcastle to deliver drugs to ex-baker Carol Dale.
She would then weigh them and bag them up and he would return to Merseyside with the money to be given to his bosses running the operation.
But a court heard that 56-year-old Dale only began working for the gang because she had developed a cocaine habit and began drinking heavily after her relationship broke down.
The former Greggs worker was caught twice in five months helping to prop up the Scouse gang's North East supply chain and has been jailed for her part in the conspiracy.
Tony Cornberg, representing Dale, said the barmaid had been exploited as she owed money for her own drug use.
He added: "She split up with her partner of six years and it was a bad break up and she started drinking heavily.
"She also started taking cocaine, which she had never taken before in her life.
"She ended up being in debt to the tune of £2,000, which led her to commit the offence she was sentenced for in January."
Dale's home was the destination for heroin and crack cocaine driven to Newcastle by 49-year-old Williams.
Both were exploited by criminals after falling into debt to the dealers who supplied them.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: "On October 3, 2019, there was text and telephone messages between the two defendants, which was obviously organising a drugs delivery the next day on October 4.
"Just after midday, a police officer witnessed David Williams drive on to Westfield Road in a Skoda and park outside Carol Dale's address.
"David Williams got out, took a rucksack from the boot of the taxi and went into the address. He was in there for about 15 minutes. He left the address still carrying the rucksack, put it in the car and drove off.
"His taxi was stopped a short time later and he immediately volunteered that he had £500 in his pocket for a job he'd done and his life savings were in the boot. £19,080 was in the rucksack."
The court heard that police then raided Dale's home and found a total of 1.402kg of heroin, worth in excess of £30,000, and 53.87g of crack cocaine, with a value of more than £4,500, in her kitchen.
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Scales, a mobile phone, small plastic bags and £3,000 in cash were also discovered.
Mr Pallister said that at least five transactions were carried out between Dale and Williams between July and October 2019.
Dale had avoided jail just months earlier after she was found to be involved with drugs brought into the North East by the same gang.
The former Greggs worker was given a suspended sentence but was then tracked down by those she had been working for and persuaded to work for them.
The court was told that Dale had used her time on remand constructively and now had the support of her family after she had informed them of what was going on in her life.
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Andrew Walker, defending Williams, who had no past convictions, said he had simply acted as a courier after also getting into a drugs debt.
He said: "Mr Williams has reached almost 50 without ever committing a criminal offence. He is and was completely out of his depth.
"It was out of character and against his instincts as a human being. You're dealing with somebody who was a law-abiding citizen who has been instructed, if not used, to perform a function.
"It was a high-risk function with a modest reward."
The court heard that neither Dale nor Williams led lavish lifestyles.
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Dale, 56, pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply, possessing cocaine with intent to supply and possession of criminal property at Newcastle Crown Court.
Williams, 49, and of Queens Drive, West Derby, admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine and possession of criminal property.
Jailing Dale for a total of seven years and three months and Williams for 40 months, Judge Sarah Mallett said: "You were both working as part of county lines between Liverpool and the North East.
"That line has been established, especially in Gateshead and Durham, for a substantial period of time and it has to be said that, over that time, the supply of drugs through that route has caused much harm to people's lives."