A DRUG dealer was left disappointed after a judge rejected his request to increase his jail sentence to match that of his co-defendant stepbrother.

Sakhile Lecheko was handed four months fewer in prison than his stepbrother Duncan Adeparusi, after police interrupted them midway through a drug deal at Cockhedge Shopping Centre.

The 24-year-old ran across a live railway line in a bid to evaded pursuing police but was eventually caught, while 23-year-old Adeparusi was also detained by officers.

The latter was sentenced to longer in prison due to a previous dealing conviction, but Lecheko argued they should be given the same as they played equal roles.

And while his request was branded ‘noble’ by a surprised judge, it was not carried out.

The pair appeared before Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.

Mike Stephenson, prosecuting, explained how on October 11, the defendants were in the Cockhedge Centre when a security guard monitoring CCTV saw them involved in a transaction, which he suspected to involve drugs.

A buyer was speaking to both men, with money being handed to Adeparusi and drugs being handed over in a small plastic bag by Lecheko.

After police were notified and officers approached the group, Lecheko ran away across a live railway line and was chased.

Before his capture, he threw two mobile phones into bushes, however a third phone was recovered on his person when he was detailed, along with £292.75 in cash.

Analysis of the phone found on him revealed 91 ‘flare messages’ alerting individuals that he was available to deal drugs.

Cockhedge Shopping Centre

Cockhedge Shopping Centre

The customer spotted during the transaction at the Cockhedge Centre was detained and a gram deal of crack cocaine was found with a street value of between £30 and £40.

Adeparusi was spotted placing something under a car in the shopping centre’s car park, which was recovered by police and found to be drugs.

Both were interviewed by police, with Adeparusi telling officers the discussion with the customer was not to do with drugs and related to an Xbox, while Lecheko gave no comment.

Mr Stephenson said both defendants played a ‘substantial role’ in a drug operation of a ‘substantial scale.

Adeparusi’s situation was aggravated by a previous conviction of a similar nature in May 2017, when he was caught in Blackpool in possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to supply, contained in a Kinder egg. He was subsequently incarcerated for 34 months.

Lecheko had no previous convictions for similar offences, however he was subject to a community order at the time after he injured two women after ‘kicking a door off its hinges’.

He was also fined £150 last December for possession of cannabis and cocaine.

Kate Morley, defending Adeparusi, said: “The finest mitigation for the defendant is his guilty pleas, for which he is entitled full credit.”

She continued: “He is going to have to grow up immediately as he is becoming a father next year, which he is determined to take seriously.

“He is focused on obtaining qualifications in custody and lead a more productive life on his release.”

Nigel Beeson, defending Lecheko, added: “The biggest contribution my client has made of a positive nature is his pleas of guilty at the first opportunity.

“I ask the court to pass the shortest sentence in line with its public duty.”

Liverpool Crown Court

Liverpool Crown Court

Before sentencing, judge David Swinnerton said: “You came to this country from South Africa, no doubt as your family wanted to make a better life for yourselves and themselves.

“It is tragic to see two young men who have chosen to get involved in criminality and dealing drugs.

“You will both still be relatively young when you are released from prison, and I ask you to think seriously about the future path you create for yourselves.

“If you carry on like this, you will be wasting your lives spending longer and longer in prison.”

Lecheko, of Corporation Street in Stafford, was jailed for three years, while Adeparusi, of no fixed address, but previously of Manchester, was locked up for 40 months.

An order for the forfeiture of the cash and destruction of the drugs was granted.

After the sentences were handed down, Lecheko asked the judge to increase the length of sentence to match his stepbrother’s.

To this, judge Swinnerton said: “I have never been asked by a defendant to increase their sentence before. It is very noble of you, but I am not going to do that.”

Following the sentencing hearing, Sgt Graham Robinson said: “This is what Project Servator is all about.

“Working with partners, whether that is security guards, CCTV operators, shop workers or members of the public, to make Warrington a no-go area for those intent on committing crime.

“I hope this goes as a warning to those selling or buying drugs or thinking of committing crime in Warrington that we have eyes and ears out there, and we are determined to work together to disrupt criminal activity, whatever that may entail.”