Rushden drug dealer jailed for using children to supply class A drugs
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A 19-year-old man has been jailed for his role in running a drugs line which used missing children to supply heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Rushden.
Connor Walsh, previously of Queen Street, Rushden, ran the line between March and September 2022.
At times during this period, he facilitated the travel of a 15-year-old boy from London and a 17-year-old boy from Essex, both of whom were reported as missing children, to come to Rushden to supply drugs on the streets of the town.
Walsh was identified as the holder of the line and was arrested in September 2022, in possession of the drugs line’s phone, as he left a property in Higham Ferrers.
When police entered the property, they found two girls, aged 15 and 16 inside, along with 43 street deals of heroin and a larger stock amount sufficient to create another 312 street deals. Also found were 35 street deals of crack cocaine along with scales and cash. The drugs had a combined street value of over £4,000.
At Northampton Crown Court in January, Walsh made guilty pleas to four offences - being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, arranging/facilitating the travel of the two boys with a view to their exploitation under the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015, and the possession of criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
At the same court last week (February 24), His Honour Judge Mayo sentenced him to four years and six months in prison.
Detective Sergeant Keith Morson from Northamptonshire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Team, said: “I welcome the sentence handed to Connor Walsh as he was involved in serious criminality - running a drugs line which supplied Class A drugs on the streets of Rushden.
“He fully knew the harm that these drugs cause in the community and his culpability was compounded by the fact that he facilitated vulnerable missing children from out of the county to be brought to Rushden and exploit them by supplying his drugs at street level, motivated by the lure of profit.
“This abhorrent use of children to deal drugs will not be tolerated by Northamptonshire Police and I plead to any member of the community that may have concerns for any child who may be being exploited in this manner, to report this to us via 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
Detective Inspector Carrie Powers, said: “Northamptonshire Police is committed to dismantling County Lines networks through targeting offenders and safeguarding victims.
“This case demonstrates that we will work tirelessly to prosecute criminals for drug dealing and child trafficking under modern slavery laws to reflect the devastating nature of their exploitation of young and vulnerable people.”