A TEENAGER “brazenly” dealt drugs in and around New Milton during the first lockdown to pay off a debt, a court heard.
Harley Haynes (18), set up an enterprise in his bedroom – keeping track of his clients via deal and debt lists and even going so far as mapping out routes and plotting how much profit he would make by when, Southampton Crown Court heard.
Judge Charles Langley said such actions would usually see an offender sent straight to prison – but he noted Haynes was 17 at the time and had kept out of trouble since the last matter in July 2020, so spared him jail.
On 11th March last year Haynes was spotted by plain-clothes police doing a drug deal with a man, and after he pedalled off on his bike was followed to his home address on Moore Road, prosecutor Kaj Scarsbrook explained.
In his room police found cannabis with a street value of £600, drug equipment and messages on his phone sorting out drug deals, so arrested him.
After being questioned and released, Haynes was seen again in early April with a drug dealer in New Milton, and stopped and searched. When officers went to his home they found the drug enterprise had restarted in his room, complete with notebooks containing deal lists, the prosecutor said.
Haynes was again seen interacting with drug users in the town in May, and fled when seen by police who went to his home and again found a drug dealing enterprise.
Officers also found a new phone and, as they examined it, a text arrived from the drug users with whom they had spotted Haynes interacting moments earlier – during which the user said he needed drugs when “it was safe”.
When Haynes, Mr Scarsbrook continued, was again caught with drugs on 23rd June, a search of his house revealed deal bags which had the initials “HH” on them as well as a “logistical plan” for his dealing route to maximise profits.
The defendant was also stopped in the street in New Milton in early July when cannabis was found on him – which he said was for personal use. Mr Scarsbrook said from all of the searches police had seized £260 in cash Haynes had made from deals.
The court was told that after each of his arrests Haynes had made “full and frank” admissions to his offending – even telling officers about more instances than they were aware of.
He was eventually charged and pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing class B drugs with intent to supply, two of being concerned in the supply and one of possessing criminal property – the £260 cash.
A seventh drug charge, which he had denied, was dropped after the prosecution offered no evidence.
Defending Ellie Fargin said her client got into dealing to pay back dealers “upstream” in the drug chain he was in debt to, partly because he smoked cannabis.
She said Haynes was the eldest of five children and there was “tension in the home” between him and his mother. He had starting smoking cannabis only after moving to New Milton, and continued to do so – although he wanted to receive help to address that.
Ms Fargin said her client had autism, had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and wanted to gain more qualifications so he could resume work.
After his final arrest in July, Haynes realised the offending had to stop, and had kept out of trouble, she outlined, stressing his relative youth.
The final two points, Judge Langley said, had persuaded him to give Haynes a chance at rehabilitation. “This was brazen drug-dealing by you on a number of occasions,” he told Haynes, adding it was a “relatively sophisticated operation”.
He handed the defendant an 18-month community order, told him to undergo six months of low-intensity drug rehab, and do 100 hours’ unpaid work.