Benefits St stars on drug charges

Andover Advertiser: Samora Roberts, better known as Black Dee from the TV show Benefits Street, arrives at Birmingham Magistrates' Court Samora Roberts, better known as Black Dee from the TV show Benefits Street, arrives at Birmingham Magistrates' Court

Four residents of the road featured in the Benefits Street TV series have appeared in court accused of drug offences.

Samora Roberts, known to viewers of the Channel 4 show as Black Dee, and her neighbours Tina Thomas, Charlene Wilson and Ian Wright were not required to enter any pleas during a hearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

Roberts, 32, Thomas, 46, Wilson, 29, and 38-year-old Wright, all of James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham, are alleged to have conspired to supply drugs in June last year.

Three further defendants, including two former James Turner Street residents, also appeared in court at a 10-minute hearing accused of conspiracy to supply illegal substances.

Around 20 people were in the public gallery to watch the proceedings, including mother-of-two Deirdre Kelly, who is known as White Dee on the Channel 4 show.

District Judge David Robinson granted all seven defendants unconditional bail to reappear for a plea hearing at the city's Crown Court on June 5.

Roberts is accused of conspiracy to supply cannabis and crack cocaine at her home, possession of diamorphine, and possession of 13 0.38-calibre bullet cartridges.

Thomas, whose solicitor said she intended to plead not guilty, is also accused of possessing five bullet cartridges of the same calibre, and conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Meanwhile, Wilson faces three charges, namely conspiracy to supply crack cocaine at an address in James Turner Street, conspiracy to supply cannabis, and possession of diamorphine.

Wright is alleged to have conspired with others to supply both crack cocaine and cannabis.

Marvin Scott, 37, formerly of James Turner Street but now of City Road, Edgbaston, faces a single count of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

Omari George, 20, of Dora Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, is charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and crack cocaine.

Monique Walker, 28, formerly of James Turner Street but now of Selly Oak, Birmingham, is alleged to have plotted to supply crack cocaine on June 14 last year.

The charges were brought following a series of raids in James Turner Street last summer at a number of addresses following concerns raised by members of the local community.

Ms Kelly, who is not charged with any offence, left the court without comment in the company of a number of the defendants, including Roberts.

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