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Gloucestershire Business News

Trio of drug dealers sentenced

The third member of a trio of drug dealers has belatedly joined his two fellow offenders behind bars after going on the run at the time of the original sentencing hearing last month.

Adam Crotchett, 20, of Snowdon Gardens, Churchdown, had pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to possessing heroin and crack with intent to supply but failed to appear for sentencing with the other two gang members on Sept 3rd.

At that hearing a warrant was issued for his arrest after co-defendants Stephen Matthews, 43, of St George's Street, Cheltenham, and Joshua Walsh, 27, of Barbridge Road, Cheltenham, were both jailed for dealing in hard drugs in Gloucester. Matthews got three years and Walsh four years eight months.

The court heard that Matthews was driving on April 20 this year with Crotchett in the car when they were stopped by police after going through red traffic lights in Gloucester. The officers smelt cannabis coming from the vehicle while they spoke with the driver.

Prosecutor David Scutt said: "Crotchett was being driven around by Matthews and was the front seat passenger when they were stopped by police.

"Crotchett was sitting on a mobile phone, which was later examined and found to contain drug dealing messages dating back to December 27, 2019, and he had in his possession £390 in cash on him.

"A second phone was found broken into pieces within the car. Both men were arrested and their home addresses searched.

"At Crotchett's home police discovered a quantity of cash and around £80 in coinage in his bedroom."

Matthew Harbinson, defending said: "At the time Crotchett was still a teenager and he has not come to the attention of the police in the six months since his arrest.

"Knowing that he was likely to spend time in prison, Crotchett has actively sought work in the meantime.

"He was working as an apprentice but lost this position when he started using a stronger strain of cannabis which is likened to having the effects of a Class A drug. It encouraged him to dabble in cocaine and heroin.

"For clarification, Crotchett was a street dealer acting for Matthews, who was running the phone line.

"Since his arrested he has been working in a pub in Newent and as a spray paint technician in a car body shop even though he knew he was going to receive a custodial sentence.

"He has demonstrated that he is not the same person who committed the offence. I don't feel he could have done any more to help himself."

Judge Cullum said to Crotchett: "This has been somewhat of a fragmented sentencing process having already dealt with your co-defendants. All parties agree that Walsh was the leader in this drugs operation of which you had responsibility for a chain of command.

"You were a teenager at the time and were fully involved in dealing in class A drugs, ruining the lives of those involved leaving a trail of destruction behind.

"You were pretty callous in your behaviour. You made financial gain and also gained sexual favours from prostitutes that you dealt with. You had the liberty to make that sort of financial decision.

"I accept this wasn't your phone drug operation. You were not top of the tree and Walsh has been sentenced for having the leading role.

"It seems you had it all. The support of your family to a degree and from your employers but you had thrown it all away.

"You know that you will be receiving a custodial sentence today and I hope that these people will give you a second chance when you are released."

The judge sentenced Crotchet to 28 months detention in a young offender's institute.

He also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of all the drugs, relevant paraphernalia and phones connected with the case and the forfeiture of £580 in cash seized from Crotchett and the vehicle. The money will be given to Gloucestershire Police's drug prevention and education programme.

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