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Burnley teen who dealt crack and heroin avoids jail ‘because of age’

An 18-year-old drug dealer has been spared being locked up after a judge said it would not be beneficial to send him to prison due to his age.

Shahid Khan, of Burnley, had not long turned 18 when he was arrested by police for his involvement in class A drugs offences on February 25.

During sentencing at Preston Crown Court, the judge was told that on the day, plain-clothed police officers saw a drug deal in Hebrew Road, Burnley.

A man wearing a black jacket was seen handing over drugs to a customer before going into a flat on Abel Street and then leaving a short time later.

Prosecuting, Jon Savage said: “Not long after this, the defendant, Khan, was seen entering and leaving the same property, before police later spotted another drugs transaction take place in the back street.

“Police went to the address but as they approached the male in the black jacket and the defendant tried to run away.

“Khan was detained on Ardwick Street after a short chase and was found to be in possession of £55 in cash and a key to a bike lock.

“When interviewed he told officers ‘I haven’t been at a flat I have been playing PS4’.”

The court heard how during a search of the Abel Street property police found snap bags full of cocaine and heroin, as well as £1,345 in cash, potential equipment used to cut drugs including ammonia and bicarbonate of soda, and a bike lock, which matched the key the defendant was carrying.

Altogether police found 40 wraps of heroin with a street value of £1,250 and 67 wraps of crack cocaine worth around £1,570, as well as a couple of single wraps worth £20 and another bag worth £600.

Mr Savage added: “There was clearly a small commercial enterprise carried out from this premises and we can’t say whether he was involved on a large scale but his role was a significant one.”

In his defence, barrister James Heyworth said the operation was clearly not Khan’s but the second male’s.

He told the court: “He had only just turned 18, and we know 18-year-olds can be naive.

“It was convenient for him to be looking after the drugs while the other man went out dealing. He has ended up performing a role but it was a lesser role.”

Recorder Daniel Prowse said he would take into account the defendant’s age but could not ignore the fact Khan was being paid to look after the drugs.

He said: “There was ongoing street dealing from that flat, and I accept there may have been others higher up the chain and that there was another man involved on that day.

“Given your age and lack of convictions, you were likely to be a subordinate in this enterprise. However, you weren’t doing it to support a habit, you were doing it for money.

“The supply of drugs perpetuates a cycle of misery but because of your age it’s justified for me to suspend the sentence.

“I have never given a suspended sentence for class A drug supply before, do not let me down.”

Khan was given 24 months in a young offenders institute, suspended for two years, 30 hours of attendance contact, 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work.