March 3, 2021 5.20 pm This story is over 15 months old

“Vulnerable” teen drug dealers spared jail

One of them has autism and is “highly suggestible”

Two teenagers who were involved in a county lines drug operation have been given suspended jail sentences at Lincoln Crown Court on Wednesday.

Officers stopped and arrested two men at Lincoln railway station in April 2019, and the subsequent inquiry led officers to a property in the Monks Road area of the city which was being used as a base for selling ecstasy.

Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said that drugs were being brought from outside of the city to the ground floor flat in Cannon Street.

The 18-year-old living at the flat was not in when police arrived in April 2019 but his then teenage partner was there and was arrested.

Officers found a bag containing 67 ecstasy tablets and a notebook which appeared to contain a list of drug debts.

An iPhone found in the flat contained messages indicating that the user was involved in supplying drugs.

Both the occupier Leon Leivers and his then partner Shannon McParland were arrested.

Mrs Hardy told the court that the two men stopped at the railway station gave the Cannon Street flat as their address but neither actually lived there.

She said: “It does seem that these men were operating across the county coming from Nottingham to Lincoln and it seems they used a number of addresses.”

Shannon McParland, 19, admitted charges of supplying drugs between January 1 and April 8, 2019 and possession with intent to supply on April 1, 2019.

Leon Leivers, 20, of Cannon Street, Lincoln, admitted being concerned in the supply of drugs.

McParland was given 20 months custody, suspended for two years, with 80 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Leivers was given 18 months custody, suspended for two years, with 120 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Recorder Charles Falk, passing sentence, told them: “The police, having arrested two criminals undoubtedly involved in a county lines operation, then had cause to enter and search the flat in Cannon Street.”

The Recorder described both defendants as vulnerable and said that the mitigations presented on their behalf allowed him to suspend the custodial sentences.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, for McParland, said she was only 17 at the time of the offences and it was clear pressure had been applied by others to allow use of the premises.

“She has mental health problems. She has autism and is highly suggestible. She is a vulnerable woman who was put under pressure.”

He said McParland, who now has a one-year-old son, is no longer in a relationship with Leivers.

John McNally, for Leivers, said he was immature and easily influenced by others. He said Leivers helps look after his mother who suffers from chronic illness.