Driver in Shrewsbury county lines conspiracy finally sentenced
An addict who drove for a ringleader in a county lines drug conspiracy that stretched from Liverpool to Shrewsbury has avoided jail.
Lee Dunbar, 42, drove Kelly Carter between Shropshire and Merseyside on several occasions as a way of paying off his drug debts.
He was finally sentenced after failing to turn up to court in December, when five others from Shrewsbury were sentenced for their parts in the racket.
On failing to make the initial sentencing, Brendan Reedy, defending, said Dunbar knew he could be facing jail time and "buried his head in the sand" by not going.
He said: "It was playing on his mind. His sister was diagnosed with cancer before the December hearing. That combined with waiting for this caused him to lose it. He went up to Manchester to stay with a friend."
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On Dunbar's role in the conspiracy, Mr Reedy added: "He did a few trips to Liverpool to relieve him of money he owed.
"He was a user of drugs. He was not involved to a high level."
The Shrewsbury-based addicts who were involved carried out a range of roles including hiring a car, ferrying narcotics between locations and letting the Merseyside ringleaders use their home as a drugs den.
Dunbar's role was described as similar to Paul Davies, who also drove for the group. In a previous hearing, Judge Anthony Lowe said: “The use of different cars was an important aspect, and will have made the group more difficult to detect.”
Dunbar, from Church Lane, Bicton, Shrewsbury, had previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Before this he had racked up 32 convictions for 92 offences.
Judge Anthony Lowe told Dunbar: "You know that you should have been sentenced with your co-defendants. Your involvement was for around three months. You had some awareness of the nature of the operation."
He was given a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work.
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