Prestwich: Teen drug dealer ‘controlled’ by older criminals

A teenager was controlled by “older, more criminally minded gang members’” as he dealt hard drugs to a list of debtors.

Corey Byrns, now 19, was aged just 17 when police raided his home in Prestwich on July 27 last year.

The officers found heroin, morphine and Oxycodene at Byrns’ home after he told them he had “just a bit of weed” in his bedroom, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Helena Williams, prosecuting, said: “The police have information that Mr Byrnes was being managed by an older gang member.”

Bury Times: The case was heard at Manchester Crown Court at Crown SquareThe case was heard at Manchester Crown Court at Crown Square (Image: Newsquest)

She added: “The crown accepts that he was engaged by pressure and grooming and that there was a lesser expectation of financial advantage in his case.”

Ms Williams told the court how as well as just over £2,600 worth of drugs, including a jar of around 12 grams of cannabis the officers also found a debtors’ list, and two Nokia phones at Byrns’ home.

The messages found on the phone were, she said, “consistent with the supply of drugs”.

Ms Williams explained that the drugs were to be sold to the people on the debtors list and that messages had also shown Byrns to be under the control of “someone else” further up in the criminal hierarchy.

Byrns, of Polefinch Grange, at first answered “no comment” when interviewed by police but pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply and one count of possession of class B drugs.

Ian Metcalf, defending, acknowledged that the prosecution had “already done my job for me” to an extend by pointing out how the then 17-year-old Byrns had been controlled by other gang members.

He told the court that the young man had since removed himself from “those malign influences that we have talked about” and had worked positively with probation services since his arrest.

Mr Metcalf argued that Byrns deserved credit for having pleaded guilty when he did and said that given his young age it was more important to rehabilitate him than punish him.

Recorder Alexandra Simmonds told Byrns that if he had been over 18 when his crimes were committed he could have been facing a prison sentence but said that because of his age she was prepared to suspend his sentence.

She said: “You also appear to have been acting under the direction and supervision of other, older members of this gang that you seem to have been part of.”

She added: “You were made vulnerable by the influence of others older than yourself and more criminally minded than yourself.”

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But Recorder Simmonds accepted that Byrns had stayed out of trouble since then and told him that “maybe, just maybe” he could go on to “live a life free from crime”.

She sentenced Byrns to two years in prison, suspended for two years and ordered him to attend a thinking skills programme made up of 19 sessions.

Recorder Simmonds also ordered him to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

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