Drug runner spared jail after court hears he's beating habit

Exeter Crown Court.

Ross was dealt with at Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A drug user who ran errands for a London-based County Lines gang has been spared an immediate jail sentence after beating his habit.

Nathan Ross acted as driver for members of the gang and made at least two trips to London to fetch drugs for the organised crime groups which used the street name ‘Doctor’.

It operated in East Devon and Exeter for two months at the start if 2020 and used another user’s house in Ottery St Mary as a temporary base.

Ross, 37, was given a suspended sentence after a Judge heard how he had overcome a long-standing addiction with the help of his parents who have taken him back into their home, in Beer.

A Judge at Exeter Crown Court praised their efforts and those of a local clergyman who had supported Ross and written a reference which attested to his reformed character.

Ross, of Barline, Beer, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and was jailed for two years, suspended for two years by Judge Timothy Rose.

He was also curfewed for four months and ordered to do 20 days of rehabilitation activities with the probation service.

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The judge told him: “You should be endlessly grateful to your parents who have stood by you and deserve the highest tribute.

“You did more than enough to get yourself sent straight to prison and if this case had been dealt with closer to the time you were arrested, that is what would have happened.

“I have read the references and the probation report and it is clear that you have set about rehabilitating yourself.”

Miss Mary McCarthy, prosecuting, said the Doctor line ran between December 2019 and February 2020. Ross became involved through the drugs scene in East Devon and made two trips to London and had the ‘graft’ phone in his vehicle.

He also drove around East Devon and Dorset to facilitate the operation before he was arrested when police arrested the address in Ottery St Mary where the group had taken over the home of female addict.

Police seized 123 wraps of crack or heroin worth £4,420 and phone data showed he had called the Doctor line on 753 occasions. The line itself sent 34 texts to up to 90 users in which drugs were offered.

Mr Lee Bremridge, defending, said Ross had used the two years since his arrest to overcome his heroin addiction and is still working with the addiction service while living with his parents in Beer.

He hopes to use his own experiences to help others by training as a recovery worker and is volunteering at a community centre in Axminster.