An woman who ran an international spice making operation worth tens of thousands of pounds from her Oldham home has been jailed.

Gail Cotton led a double life, keeping her job as a cleaner while at the same time importing materials to produce spice and sell it all over the country from Liverpool to Scotland.

The 55-year-old even made special plans for it to be sold into prisons, where its value is four times higher.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard Cotton was first arrested in relation to supplying other drugs, but it was only later the true extent of her activities were revealed.

Prosecutor Verity Quatie said police executed a warrant at her home on Melling Road in Oldham in November last year.

Cotton directed them to quantities of cocaine and MDMA.

The prosecutor revealed the cocaine was 59.6 grams with a purity of 85 per cent and worth around £6,000 and there was 355 grams of MDMA with a purity of 81 per cent and a value of between £10,400 and £14,200.

Officers later found 13.99 grams of cannabis worth around £140 and also 940 grams of spice worth between £4,080 and £9,400.

They also found paraphernalia associated with drug dealing including snap bags and scaled, but officers did not appreciate the significance of bottles of acetone they found.

When they returned later that morning it had been removed.

An inspection of her found revealed she had plaed a leading role in the conspiracy to supply spice.

This included importing ingredients from China and a conversation with someone with the username JoeMacAussie where she said she did not mind other people getting involved in production when she was away but it was “her business.”

The prosecutor said: “The messages demonstrate the scale of the operation.

“The defendant was involved in the supply to customers around the UK, in Liverpool and Scotland.

“Spice appears to have been supplied in prison.”

She said the method of supply had been changed to help it past prison guards.

She added: “For the overall value, between £60,000 and £80,000 is a conservative estimate” of what could have been realised from the drugs.

Once officers realised the extent of the business they obtained a fresh warrant and arrested Cotton again in February this year.

She appeared in court to be sentenced after admitting possession cannabis, cocaine and MDMA with the intention of selling them and conspiracy to produce spice.

Representing her, defence counsel Ricky Holland said: “For all of that was going on she was working full time as a cleaner.

“It was not like she had abandoned her long work ethic because of this.”

Imposing a sentence, judge Tina Landale said: “You produced spice as a very profitable business knowing that some of it would be supplied onwards into prisons.

“The simple fact is that spice in prisons causes very serious harm.

“Firstly for the prisoners and their families, it causes bulling and intimidation and causes crime and pressure on family members to bring it in.

“It has repercussion for the whole community.

“For the staff inside prisons it causes lawlessness, problem behabiour, disorder and aggression.”

She jailed Cotton for three years.