A YOUNG offender told the courts the initial reason he got involved with a county lines drug operation was so he could afford some new football training shoes.

Abdirahman Ahmed was given a unique second chance by the judge at Liverpool Crown Court last Thursday, having been facing serious charges of being concerned in the supply of and possession to supply crack cocaine and heroin in a large-scale operation.

Simon Rogers, prosecuting, told the court how Ahmed, 18, was involved in a county lines drug enterprise on September 7 in Warrington.

Police discovered the defendant at a property in Dalton Bank in Fairfield after following intelligence gathered as part of Operation Apollo.

“When he was found he had 93 wraps of heroin,” Mr Rogers said. “He was also in the same room as another individual and also in that room was two county lines phones and just over £515 in cash.”

When police searched the address, in the kitchen they found a total of four wraps of crack cocaine and two wraps of heroin on the table.

Warrington Guardian: The case was heard at Liverpool Crown Court The case was heard at Liverpool Crown Court (Image: Supplied)

The defendant, of Hartington Road in Toxteth, had just turned 18 at the time of his arrest, and his co-defendant, 53-year-old Karen Leigh was also arrested, along with a 17-year-old youth who cannot be named.

Ahmed was operating one of the county lines phones, taking calls and arranging drug deals to be made.

The defendant appeared by video call from HMP Altcourse facing charges of two counts of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin, two counts of possession to supply class A drugs and one count of possession of criminal property.

His co-defendant, Karen Leigh was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on November 1 for 22-months in custody.

Mr McNally, defending, said: “He was sent to Warrington in a taxi the night before and told where to go and what to do.

“It was his youth that was exploited. He got involved in this to pay for some football training shoes.”

Judge Neil Flewitt addressed the defendant’s barrister, before announcing the course of action he was planning to take.

Warrington Guardian: The incident happened on Dalton Bank in FairfieldThe incident happened on Dalton Bank in Fairfield (Image: Google Maps)

“Just sometimes you feel there might be hope for someone if they are started in the right direction,” he said.

Judge Flewitt referred to Ahmed’s particularly eye-opening pre-sentence report which revealed his difficult upbringing.

Addressing the defendant for sentencing, he said: “I have got a pretty stark choice to make today.

“I can order you to stay in custody for a lot longer, or I can give you a chance.

“You were involved in a county lines drug operation that was supplying drugs in the Warrington area.”

Mr Flewitt said his young age, lack of convictions and his ‘difficult life’ and upbringing were factors as to why he was going to suspend the sentence he was about to give.

“I hope that if you take advantage of the order that I make, that you will be able to live a law-abiding life,” he added. “I am going to reserve any breaches of this order to me. If you break this, I will send you to prison.”

Ahmed was allowed to walk free from court with a 24-month suspended sentence.

He was ordered to work 150 hours of unpaid work and complete 15 rehabilitation days as well as enter into a treatment programme.