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'Your parents will never look at you the same way again' - 21-year-old from 'loving home' jailed for drug dealing

PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 19 October 2019

Lewis Skinner was jailed for five years six months after being caught with half a kilo of cocaine. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Lewis Skinner was jailed for five years six months after being caught with half a kilo of cocaine. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

A man from a "good home and loving family" has been jailed for more than five years for drug dealing in what a judge described as a "heartbreaking" case.

Lewis Skinner was caught hiding half a kilo of cocaine in a wheelie bin in Wymondham by a "public-spirited" 14-year-old after he took off from police in his BMW on May 13 last year.

The boy told police what he saw and officers retrieved 480 grams of cocaine with 85pc purity, hidden in a washbag with Skinner's DNA on it.

The 21-year-old denied the offence, and claimed at trial a man called 'Gav' must have stashed the drugs in his bag, but was found guilty by the jury.

Skinner sobbed in the dock as he was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday, with friends and family packing the public gallery.

Judge Andrew Shaw, jailing him, said the case was "heartbreaking".

"It is heartbreaking because while you are your parents' son, they will never look at you the same way again," he said.

"It was all so pointless and avoidable. You are such a bright and intelligent man, I can't believe you are not aware of the harmful effects these poisons have.

"The lives ruined by drugs in this case are yours and those of your friends and family. I just hope it was worth it, whatever you were paid for this."

Prosecutor Isobel Acherson told the court proceeds of crime investigations are underway, saying Skinner had a "significant role" in drug dealing.

John Morgans, mitigating for Skinner, said he was a "well liked, well regarded" young man who had now faced up to his guilt.

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"Being well brought up and with a great deal of potential, it is incredibly sad he finds himself in this situation," he said. "Where he has the advantage over other people in his position is the public gallery and strong support he has from his family. They all disapprove completely of what he has done.

"He is somebody who at the time was lacking in maturity and, however he got into this, he is far from professional. He is somebody who has a lot to offer, and when released from his cell will do well."

Judge Shaw praised the actions of the 14-year-old boy who reported the offence and secured the conviction.

"You were one of two occupants of a BMW that was witnessed by a young 14-year-old boy," he told Skinner.

"He was looking out the window expecting the car he heard to be his returning father.

"He was sufficiently vigilant to notice one of the men deposited something in a nearby wheelie bin. I have no doubt that person was you.

"But for the vigilance of the boy and his public-spirited nature you may well have got away with it."

He said he had "no doubt" the cocaine would have been cut down and repackaged to provide more than a kilo to sell on the streets, adding it was hard to accept it was the actions of a "novice or amateur".

He said: "This was like a bag of sugar - it is not low level dealing to friends. It is trafficking a serious quantity of cocaine.

"The real mitigation here is in the frankly heartbreaking letter to me by your parents. "They have to live now with one of their children being in prison and having to visit you in prison - something no parent ever wants to do.

"When it is someone like you, from a good home and loving family, it seems ten times worse to have to send someone like you to prison."

Skinner, of Norwich Road, Tacolneston, was jailed for five and half years for possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

He was given seven days in prison concurrent for possession of cannabis in September.

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