A TEEN caught making a drug run through Cumbria has been spared a prison sentence by a judge who heard he was pressured to make the trip and work off a cannabis debt.
Police stopped a speeding Volkswagen Tiguan on the M6 near Carlisle as it travelled northbound on July 2. Officers became suspicious when the driver and his 18-year-old passenger, Kaya Emile Preston, gave differing destination accounts.
Preston was found in possession of heroin stashed inside a pair of gloves. This comprised 16 individual wraps which could potentially have been sold on the street for almost £1,300.
Preston admitted possessing the class A drug with intent to supply. He revealed he was acting solely as a courier, that he believed the criminal cargo was cannabis and said he was “under threat” over an unpaid £400 debt which he was making the trip to wipe out.
Carlisle Crown Court heard Preston had been in custody since early July and would have been dealt with under the youth sentencing regime had the case been dealt with a few months earlier before he turned 18.
Recorder Paul Reid QC noted Preston was described as a “naive and immature” young man by a probation officer, and said he had to weigh up what was best for society and the teenager in the long run.
Deciding against detaining Preston, of Orlando Close, Prenton, Wirral, behind bars and in the company of bad influences, Recorder Reid imposed an 18-month community order. The teen must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement and 24 hours at an attendance centre.
“You are no doubt a very relieved young man,” the judge told him. “Take advantage of the opportunity you are being given now.”