A PLEASED drug dealer turned to his family and said ‘see you soon’ after deeming the sentence handed down to him to be ‘minor’.

Kyle Ashton, from Newton-le-Willows, was spotted by police involved in an apparent drug deal and controlled a ‘graft’ phone advertising ‘massive bits’ in Warrington.

The 22-year-old was also found following a police raid with drugs which police believe were destined to be thrown into prison.

He was jailed this afternoon, Wednesday, at Liverpool Crown Court after being charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin, as well as conspiracy to convey a prohibited article into prison.

He also admitted breaching crown court bail by failing to attend his sentencing hearing in February, after which a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Prosecutor Paul Blasbery informed the court how Ashton admitted all offences, with the concerned in the supply charges being committed in Warrington between the start of June and start of November last year.

A Cheshire Police officer first became aware in May that the defendant was involved in the supply of Class A drugs in Warrington through the ‘Dallam line’.

On October 4, the officer was on patrol when he saw Ashton leaving an address on Southworth Avenue in Bewsey, before cycling to a nearby junction to meet two men, one of which the officer recognised through previous dealings as a class A drug user of 20 years.

This was a suspected drug exchange, with Ashton handing over items and receiving cash in exchange.

Police also received intelligence regarding a new ‘graft’ phone for the Dallam line advertising drugs for sale.

One ‘flare’ message sent to a large number of drug users read ‘get your orders in’, while another said ‘in all day, massive bits’.

The sim card was linked to a black Nokia phone, with cell site data linking the device to a mast in Newton-le-Willows that was 380 metres from Ashton’s Elston Avenue home.

On November 9 at 8.30am, police executed a search warrant at the address. Ashton was in the property, with officers recovering the Nokia phone beside the defendant’s bed.

Officers also found another sim card in a trainer which was linked to the Dallam drugs line, as well as a quantity of cannabis resin from the foot of his bed.

This was measured at 69.3 grammes with an estimated street value of between £200 and £800, while £1,100 in cash was also confiscated.

Kyle Ashton was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

Kyle Ashton was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

Officers seized Ashton’s personal mobile phone and sent it to be downloaded, and this recovered a voice note and messages to an associate.

This found evidence of arrangements to throw the cannabis resin into HM Prison Buckley Hall in Rochdale, where the value of the drugs would inflate to between £1,000 and £8,000.

Ashton was interviewed by police but answered ‘no comment’ to each and every question put to him.

Mr Blasbery revealed to the court that Ashton has three previous convictions for seven offences, including possession of heroin and motoring offences.

He was previously sentenced to eight months in detention in November 2020 for robbery and assault with intent to rob after setting upon two men but making off with only £5.

Mitigating for Ashton, Zahra Baqri said that her client did not control the graft phone on all days during the drug supply period, but she conceded that he still played a ‘significant role’ by sending flare messages and instructing other dealers.

“His strongest piece of mitigation is his guilty pleas,” she said, adding that he failed to attend his previous sentencing hearing as he ‘knew what was coming and buried his head in the sand’.

She made clear that the defendant does not excuse his offending, but stated that he found finding work difficult due to his criminal record and was offered a wage to be involved in drugs.

Ms Baqri did however state that he was ‘not handsomely rewarded’, with no designer clothes or the like found in his home.

“This is a relatively naive and immature young man. He was easily influenced by people he wrongly looked up to, including his brother, who is serving a prison sentence, and as a consequence he went down the wrong path” she added.

Lee Ashton was jailed for eight years in August 2022 after he stabbed a man in the back in Bewsey after he became 'jealous' over his ex-girlfriend's new partner.

The court heard of Kyle Ashton’s difficult upbringing, being ‘pushed pillar to post in care’, how he has ‘no respect for himself or others’ and how he hopes to ‘tread the right’ path on his release.

Ashton was sentenced by judge Stuart Driver to three-and-a-half years in prison, to which he was heard saying ‘ha ha minor’, before turning to his family in the dock and saying ‘see you soon’.

He will appear back in court later this year for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing to learn if he will have to repay any of his ill-gotten gains, and if so, how much.