Teen carrying phone and cash for dealer collared while waiting for train

Norwich Railway Station, where Robbie Ryan was arrested with a phone and £1,880 for a drug dealer

Norwich Railway Station, where Robbie Ryan was arrested with a phone and £1,880 for a drug dealer Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

A vulnerable teenager “sucked in” by a gang was arrested at Norwich railway station as he was taking a phone and £1,880 in cash to a drug dealer.

Robbie Ryan was sent to Norfolk by a London county lines gang to deliver the phone and cash to Great Yarmouth, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Edmund Blackman, prosecuting, said Ryan told police that he had come to Norfolk to visit a friend in Great Yarmouth, but when searched a dealer phone for the “Jake” line was found on him, from which bulk text messages had been sent offering drugs for sale. He was also found to have £1,880 in cash.

Ryan, from London, admitted being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and possession of criminal property on June 10, 2018.

However the court heard that Ryan, who had been 18 at the time of the offence, was of previous good character and had not been in any trouble since.

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His barrister Johan Grefstad said that Ryan had been told to come to Norfolk to pay off a £950 drugs debt he owed for cannabis.

“He owed £950 to a dealer who said he could wipe off the debt if he would go to Norfolk.”

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He said that Ryan was acting under direction and only played a lesser role.

“He had just turned 18. It is over two years ago and since then he has not been in trouble and was in work for a period of time until December.”

However he said that since Covid-19 he had been struggling to get work.

Judge Stephen Holt accepted Ryan was vulnerable and said: “You were acting as a runner going up and down from London. You did owe money and got sucked in by this criminal gang to pay off debt.”

He told Ryan: “You naively got involved having been told that debt would be written off.”

Judge Holt said it would not be in the public interest to send him straight to jail and instead imposed a two year sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to do 150 hours unpaid work.

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