A BOY of 16 with a string of criminal convictions turned drug-runner and handed quantities of heroin to undercover police, a court heard.
Wesley Walmsley, of Clement Street, Accring-ton, was one of a number of people trapped by Operation Nimrod, targeting street-level supplying in Lancashire. He was detained for 18 months.
His barrister told a judge at Preston Crown Court that he had no alternative but to go along with what others asked of him.
Walmsley pleaded guilty to five offences of supplying drugs and one of being concerned in the supply of heroin in March and April this year. He had previously appeared before Hyndburn magistrates in April when he was made the subject of a two-year Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
Mr Nick Courtney, prosecuting at the crown court, said the youth handed over heroin, usually a small £10 wrap, to police on several occasions in exchange for money.
On one occasion an undercover officer was taken to an address where he paid £120 for a pack of heroin, having earlier requested an eighth of an ounce.
Video recordings were made of the transactions, from which police were able to identify the teenager. He was arrested on 21 May.
The court was told he had 34 previous convictions, including burglary, but only one was for a drug offence and that was for simple possession of cannabis.
At the time of offences he was subject to a number of court orders.
Miss Amy Nicholson, defending said he accepted a custodial sentence was inevitable. He was a prolific offender, his convictions having started at the age of 11. But in terms of the supplying offences, he had played the role of "gofer'' or runner.
Miss Nicholson said: "The police suggested at his interview that he was the little fall guy. He became involved at the behest of others. He says he wasn't making any profit from this. He simply felt he had no alternative but to go along with the other person's request that he should work off a debt.''
Judge Robert Brown said if he had been an adult the sentence would have been three-and-a-half years.
Making an 18-month detention and training order, he added that the pre-sentence report showed Walmsley had absolutely no remorse and little appreciation of what effects such drugs could have.
- The teenage tearaway was "named and shamed'' by magistrates in April. The JPs who imposed the ASBO ruled that he could be named and his photograph released in the public interest.
The court heard that on one occasion, when he was asked by a police officer why he was not in school, he had replied: "Because I'm a gangster.''
Walmsley's elder sister Jane, then a 13-year-old pupil at Moorhead High School, died in a chip pan blaze at the family's former home in Lister Street, Accrington, six years ago.