Teenager pleads guilty to dealing class A drugs

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A teenager who started using MDMA following the suicide of a close friend has been sentenced to 28 months in an young offenders institution after admitting to dealing Class A drugs.

Anthony Lai, 18, of Quinnell Way, Lowestoft, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug between March 11 and March 31 this year when he appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday, June 30.

The 18-year-old also pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a custody cell at Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre.

The court heard how Lai had first started using MDMA, also known as ecstasy, in January following the death of a best friend.

Prosecuting, John Morgans said Lai began selling the drug as “a means of funding the substance for his own use”, and said Lai started to sell to friends of friends and realised there was financial gain to be had.

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Mr Morgans said Lai was first stopped by police in Great Yarmouth on March 12, when he was found in possession of £145 in cash and 15 pills, a “brush with the police which didn’t curtail his actions,” he said.

On March 22, Lai was stopped in Lowestoft, when he was found with £172 in cash and a burner phone, and a week later on March 29 he was stopped again and found with a burner phone, £100 and three ecstasy tablets.

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A search of his home address revealed a further “dealer quantity of ecstasy tablets” and phone messages relating to the supply of drugs.

Mitigating, Rob Pollington said in January Lai had been forced to deal with the loss of close friend, “an issue very few people have to deal with in their life time”.

He said it was this experience which led Lai to turn to illicit substances as a “form of escape”, and added friends then started coming to him for substances.

Mr Pollington said Lai, who was 17 when the first offence was committed, lacked maturity.

Judge Bate sentenced Lai to 27 months detention in a young offenders institution for supplying Class A drugs and one month for criminal damage, ordering that the sentences be run consecutively.

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