A man who ran up a cocaine debt with a drugs gang was tasked with recovering addicts’ phone numbers after one of the outfit swallowed a SIM card with customers’ numbers.
Jack Thomas Brian Henstock became the latest person to be jailed for involvement in county lines offending in Cumbria.
Carlisle Crown Court heard Henstock, 28, was seen by police approaching two known drug users on a bridge in the Botcherby area on January 22. He tried to run off, but was arrested.
It emerged Henstock, of Grimshaw Lane, Middleton, travelled to Cumbria the previous day.
A phone found in his possession was said to contain ‘text bomb’ drug supply evidence, although he insisted the handset was not his.
Henstock later admitted being concerned in the supply of class A heroin and crack cocaine.
A written basis outlining the precise nature of his illegal activity revealed how he had accrued a cocaine debt and was required by a crime gang to collect addicts’ numbers in Carlisle.
“His task was to repopulate the phone contacts for the criminal organisation’s customer base of addicts,” it read.
“The organisation had lost its contacts due to someone swallowing a SIM card to avoid detection by police.”
Brendan Burke, defending, gave mitigation for Henstock, and spoke of certificates he had obtained while remanded in custody.
Glowing references were provided by two officers.
One, who had supervised his mentoring role with other inmates, said: “It was a pleasure to work with him.”
Another spoke of him being ‘a model prisoner’, and someone who others should aspire to be like.
“There is hope for him yet,” said Burke.
“He is not a thorough loss to the cause.”
Greater Manchester court cases
Judge Peter Davies accepted Henstock’s insistence that he had not physically supplied what he called ‘loathsome’ drugs.
But, jailing him for three years, Judge Davies of his role: “Everybody knows that dealing in heroin, crack cocaine and recreational cocaine has a wretched impact.
“It not only impacts on wretched people who live miserable lives. The sort of work you were doing means that more and more and more were going to be indebted to these cruel Manchester drug dealers.
“If it wasn’t for you, people like them wouldn’t be able to operate, and they wouldn’t be able to make the significant profits they do make.
“You were performing a significant and essential function in my view.”
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