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Reading Crown Court judge shows mercy to young drug dealer from Great Shefford

"You fully acknowledge you were a prat," judge tells teenager

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628


A TEENAGE drug dealer was shown mercy by a judge.

The youth  appeared for sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Friday, March 20, after being caught leaving his job at Newbury Racecourse with hundreds of pounds-worth of cannabis in ‘deal’ bags.

Daniel Wright, prosecuting, said a routine police patrol spotted the 19-year-old driving a Vauxhall Corsa near the racecourse, where he worked as a waiter, looking anxious upon seeing them.

His car was stopped and he admitted having a cannabis grinder used to prepare the Class B-controlled drug for smoking.

Police later found £330-worth of cannabis separated into deal bags in his possession, the court heard.

Dylan Lightbown, a former Hungerford Town FC Academy footballer, who lives at The Mead, Great Shefford, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply it to another in Newbury on Thursday, January 16.

Sophie Chaplin, defending, said her client had no previous convictions and had been just 18 at the time of the offence.

She added that he was remorseful and had been offered a course at Manchester University.

Judge Paul Dugdale told him: “There are two doors in that dock.

“You came in one of them.

“Behind you, just over your right shoulder, is another door.

“What happens to you now depends on which of those doors you go out of.

“The door in front of you will let you go with your dad [who was in the public gallery] and sort things out; to carry on working and go to Manchester University.”

He added: “The other door leads downstairs and to a Young Offenders’ Institution, where you can kiss goodbye to all of that.

“You’ve been an absolute prat doing what you did last year.

“People who deal in cannabis, whether to friends or to friends of friends, go to prison.

“That’s what happens, generally.

“But you’ve a number of things going for you. Firstly, you were very young at the time.

“It takes a long time for people to mature and develop life skills to work out when something is quite a good idea and when it’s going to be stupid.”

The judge went on: “That’s why courts sometimes have to pause and think when dealing with young people.

“In the letter you wrote me you fully acknowledge you were a prat – those were pretty much the words you used.

“And you’ve stopped smoking cannabis.

“Also you now have two jobs.

“You made a big mistake – the most important thing is that you learn from it.

“Use that mistake to build the rest of your life and make sure it goes the right way.

“I get the distinct impression you’ve learned from this and I’m conscious of the effort you’ve made to put things right.

“You now have a criminal record.

“I’ve done my bit to try and make it easier for you in the future.

“Learn from this mistake and don’t ever do it again.”

Judge Dugdale said even a suspended prison sentence could affect Lightbown’s future prospects.

Instead he made him subject to a 12-month community order and required him to carry out 150 hours unpaid community work.

In addition, Lightbown was ordered to pay £250 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge.

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