Shropshire Star

Street dealer locked up after County Lines investigation revealed 2,000 messages advertising supply of drugs

A teenager selling drugs on the street has been given a 32 month custody order after being caught as part of a police County Lines operation.

Telford Justice Centre

Marley Watson, 19, of Park Street, Shifnal, was arrested after investigations into a phone sim card in his possession which showed thousands of messages advertising drugs for sale.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court sitting in Telford on Friday Judge Laura Hobson said Watson's offences were so serious that she could not consider a suspended sentence.

Watson admitted possession of a bladed article, and, between March and May 2023, being involved in the supply of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.

Judge Hobson sentenced him to 32 months in a young offenders' institution saying he would serve half the sentence before being released on licence.

Mr Robert Edwards, prosecuting, said police investigating a County Lines drug operation called The Cash Line, approached Watson in Victoria Avenue, Shrewsbury on April 28 last year.

He ran off, throwing away a lock knife, but was arrested after a chase on foot.

He was bailed but in May arrested again after a sim card investigation led police to Watson, who was using the pseudonym, Cash, in messages via SMS data.

There were about 2,000 messages advertising the supply of drugs.

Mr Justin Jarmola for Watson said his client had been remanded in custody awaiting his sentence for nine months.

He said that the spectre of exploitation loomed large in the case. Watson was himself a cannabis user who would not have benefitted financially other than being given cannabis for his own use.

"He lacks maturity and has himself been exploited," he said.

Mr Jarmola said that Watson had not engaged in school since the age of 14 yet while on remand he had really used his time with education.

He had a supportive family and there was an apprenticeship available for him on his release, Mr Jarmola said and he urged the court to consider a suspended sentence.

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