A TEENAGE drug dealer has been given a “final chance” by a judge.

A 17-year-old boy from Widnes, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to a string of offences connected with county lines drug dealing.

At Chester Magistrates Court on Friday (March 15), District Judge John McGarva opted not to send him to prison but instead handed him a two-year youth rehabilitation order.

He said: “Your criminal record for somebody of 17, outweighs a lot of men in their 30s or 40s.

“You now have three convictions for supplying Class A drugs.

“If you are found guilty as an adult a court would have to impose a minimum seven-year prison sentence. You need to reflect on that.

“Your direction of travel can go in two ways. You can become a career criminal and spend much of your time in prison or break the cycle and make something of yourself.”

Clare Oliver, prosecuting, said the defendant was first charged with being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine, in November 2022.

He was spotted cycling around the Dundalk Road area of Widnes before dumping a number of items in a bush, including a mobile phone and brown and white wraps.

On this phone, and another seized by police, officers found flare messages advertising Class A drugs for sale and warning of police presence.

He was then charged with possession of a blade in August 2023 when he admitted to having a medium-sized kitchen knife in his pocket during a stop and search.

In November 2023, police attended his address for an unrelated matter and during a search of the property, found cash, mobile phones, 73 bags of cocaine, and 163 bags of heroin.

For this, he was charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and criminal damage, after spitting on the window of a holding cell in Runcorn.

Defending, Callum Ross admitted his client's actions had somewhat “tied the court's hands”.

However, he also highlighted his guilty pleas and the fact he was pressured and coerced into dealing drugs, having been just 16 at the time of the November 2022 offences.

“For his age, he presents as relatively naïve and immature,” Mr Ross said.

“It is his choices which have taken him down this path, which he tells me bluntly is a path he no longer wishes to tread.

“He wants to change his life, this has all been a wake-up call for him.

“He would like a final chance, I use that word as he knows it would be a final chance.”

Mr Ross added that the defendant had been sourced him accommodation in Liverpool, removing him from the “sphere of influence” in Widnes.

As part of the two-year rehabilitation order, District Judge McGarva issued a 90-day curfew and set a extended activity requirement of 20 days.

He said: “Don’t consider this a let-off, it’s an opportunity. It will be hard for you to take it but you must.

“It’s the nearest thing to a suspended sentence. If you commit another offence or don’t comply you will be brought back to court and it's likely I will send you to prison.”