Vulnerable Kettering drug dealer spared jail after being caught red-handed in Northampton car park

'I hope this terrifying brush with the criminal justice system has terrified you as much as I intended it to and you won't be back before a court again'

A Kettering drug dealer with learning difficulties who was caught in a Northampton car park has been spared jail as he had been used by more senior criminals.

James Adams was seen on CCTV selling drugs from a car in The Ridings car park in 2019 and a search of his bedroom found even more drugs and cash.

The 21-year-old, of Mill Road, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Northampton Crown Court today (Wednesday, July 28).

Northampton Crown Court

Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking QC told him: "James Adams you have got yourself involved in some very, very serious offending.

"You have no doubt running up until today been terrified of what will happen and caused your parents the most enormous anxiety.

"But you had got the common sense to admit what you have to the police and not pretended you weren't involved and you have been frank with the Probation Service.

"And I understand having read the psychiatric report and pre-sentence report, you probably were more vulnerable than most.

"The trouble with county lines drug operations they prey on the vulnerable and bank on the fact the courts might treat them more leniently."

On September 13, 2019, the car park CCTV operator saw Adams in the driver's seat of a car displaying 'classic drug exchange behaviour', the court heard.

Police officers found drugs stuffed down his trousers as well as £1,000 in cash before £393.44 was discovered in his bedroom along with more drugs, including MDMA, cocaine, ketamine and cannabis.

Judge Lucking said getting caught 'was probably the best thing that could have happened before you got in any deeper' as he was used by others in the county lines organisation.

Adams' defence counsel said he has severe learning difficulties, which made his time at school 'deeply unhappy and humiliating', making him vulnerable to being used by drug dealers.

But since his arrest, the defendant has got a job working night shifts 'to repay his debt to his loving and supportive family'.

Judge Lucking told Adams: "I hope this terrifying brush with the criminal justice system has terrified you as much as I intended it to and you won't be back before a court again.

"If you do something foolish and are back here then no one will be able to save you from going to prison."

As well as the suspended sentence, Adams was ordered to complete a six-month mental health treatment requirement and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The drugs will be destroyed while the money will be donated to Northamptonshire children's charity Service Six.

Judge Lucking added: "You have come very, very close today to going to prison - but not quite."