Naive dealers spared jail in ‘unusual’ case

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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Two drug dealing brothers have been spared jail after a court heard they tried to resist pressure put on them by a dealer higher up the chain.

Franklin and Jonathan Tait pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply – an offence which usually carries an immediate prison sentence.

But after hearing how the brothers found themselves in Blackpool after what was described as “an appalling upbringing”, Recorder Kevin Grice suspended their sentences and allowed them to walk free from court.

Preston Crown Court heard police called at a property in Haig Road where Franklin, 23, answered the door and called his brother Jonathan, 23, down from upstairs.

The men said they had been ordered to sell drugs for another man and when officers searched the property they found £155 of Class A drugs divided up into £5 and £10 deals, ready to sell.

In interview the brothers gave the same account that since the age of 14 they had been homeless and did not know how to access support.

They had initially tried to resist the pressure from the dealer to sell drugs on his behalf but after one of the brothers missed a job centre appointment their benefits were sanctioned and they had no money to get by.

Recorder Grice said: “Your cases are very unusual, if not unique.

“It is highly unusual that someone involved in this sort of trade would draw the attention of the police to their activity in the inevitable knowledge they would be apprehended and face custody.

“The second feature of this case is how the two of you came to be involved.

“I am satisfied you are both naive, vulnerable young men, living a day-to-day existence in Blackpool.

“You lost your benefits and all sources of legitimate income and then received - as was perhaps likely – visitations from those more powerful and criminally sophisticated than yourself.

“He forced you to take drugs in for him in order that they could be sold.

“You tried to resist. That resistance was overborne and accepted that would be your role.

“You took the view that if you said no there would be violence.”

He handed both brothers a 16 month sentence suspended for two years with 150 hours unpaid work and a 30 day rehabilitation requirement.

The brothers are now receiving support from Fulfilling Lives, which helps people with chaotic lives find stability.