A TEENAGER from Manchester began selling crack cocaine and heroin in Barrow after drugs criminals threatened his family.

The 17-year-old wept as a district judge said he recognised that what happened to the teenager was a classic case of county lines criminals exploiting a vulnerable younger person.

At an earlier hearing, the teenager had admitted possessing the two class A drugs with intent to supply.

Prosecutor Scott Parker told Carlisle's Rickergate court how the offending came to light on December 12 last year when police officers found the defendant on Roose Road, Barrow (pictured below).

(Image: Google)

When they searched him, he was found to be carrying numerous pre-packaged drugs deals – crack cocaine and heroin, with a combined estimated street value in the region of £3,800.

Another male who was with the teenager had two packages containing “white rocks” of crack cocaine, weighing 22g. He also had 25 small wraps of brown powder, later confirmed to be heroin.

Defence barrister Lewis Bocking said the defendant told him he had no wish to be in a “vicious cycle of conflict with the law.”

Had he denied the offences and been convicted, he would have faced custody. “He doesn’t want that life for himself,” said the barrister.

“He wants to work with the professionals. He has found these proceedings incredibly stressful. Ultimately, he’s scared of going to prison. This is a county lines operation where [the defendant] was exploited.

“He was vulnerable at the time and threatened over Snapchat with pictures of his family’s house. He took that to mean that if you don’t pick up the package of drugs and go to Barrow, his family would be harmed.

“So he went to Barrow and did what he was told.”

The defendant – at times in tears – was clearly remorseful and if he could go back in time he would not have allowed himself to get involved.

From a difficult and deprived background, and with no previous offending on his record, the defendant would report what was going on if he were ever to find himself in the same situation again, said Mr Bocking.

District Judge John Temperley said he could see how difficult and upsetting the court process had been for the teenager, who admitted his guilt on the day he was due to face a trial. Custody would render him vulnerable to more exploitation.

“This is a classic case of somebody being removed from their home area and taken to another part of the country to deal drugs, which is what you were doing,” said the judge. “It’s crystal clear that you were exploited.”

The teenager confirmed that he and his family had moved to a different area and he had no further contact with the drugs criminals involved.

District Judge Temperley imposed a 12-month youth referral order, which will include supervision over the next year and a three month 7pm to 7am daily curfew.

The youth, whose family did not accompany him to court, must also pay £85 costs and a £26 victim surcharge.