Page last updated at 20:27 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 21:27 UK

Woman, 77, admits cocaine charge

A 77-year-old woman caught with cocaine in her handbag told a court she needed a "lift" because she had been ill.

Betty Lily Nicholls, of Bude, Cornwall, admitted possessing the class A drug with a street value of 1,300 when she appeared at Exeter Magistrates' Court.

Her car was stopped on the M5 last November by police acting on a tip off.

Magistrates adjourned the case and Nicholls was released on bail after being warned she could be sent for sentencing by a judge at Crown Court.

The court was told when officers stopped the car near Poltimore, Devon, Nicholls appeared very nervous and "avoided eye contact".

I thought it was puff
Betty Nicholls

A red handbag was found in the car, which had a yellow bag inside it - containing cocaine.

Nicholls told police: "I don't know what it is - I thought it was puff."

She was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs but said nothing during formal police interviews.

Mrs Nicholls represented herself in court because she could not get legal aid.

Asked by court clerk Zoe Joslin about the incident, Nicholls who has no previous convictions, said: "I am sorry - it will never happen again.

"I was told it will give you quite a lift. I was ill, I was really not very well. I had pneumonia.

"It was definitely in my bag. It was in my possession."

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