County Lines drug dealer who supplied crack cocaine and heroin warned to change ways or face “life sentence by instalments”


A Warrington ‘County Lines’ drug dealer, who has become “institutionalised” by prison sentences, has been warned to change his ways.

Jailing Thomas Corlett for three years a judge told him, “You need to start changing your life or you will find yourself serving a life sentence by instalments.”

Chris Taylor, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court, “Cheshire Police identified a County Lines operation in the Warrington area supplying crack cocaine and heroin on a daily basis.

“This was called the BB Line and Thomas Corlett was identified as an operator of one of the telephone lines and text messages were sent out to local users advertising Class A drugs.
“Orders were placed and arrangements made for face to face exchanges by street dealers.”

Mr Taylor said that a Nokia mobile phone was found to have sent out bulk flare messages on almost a daily basis between February 20 and March 6 this year. Messages about crack cocaine and heroin included, “On as always, cant stop won’t stop.”
On March 12 Corlett was seen outside a house in Windrows in Skelmersdale and as he and another man set off in a van police stopped them. They were found with a BB Lines graft phone and cash, said Mr Taylor.
When the house was searched 55 grams of crack cocaine was found in bags with an estimated street value of £6,170 and cocaine worth up to £2,220. Cash totalling £6,180 was also found.

Corlett aged 34, refused to give a drugs swipe but when interviewed he admitted operating the drugs line and selling drugs from various locations.
“He said he had not set up the BB line but had been given a phone to operate which was programmed with ushers and he accepted sending out flare messages. He was paid £150 a day,” said Mr Taylor.
Corlett, of Duxford Court, Poulton-with-Fearnhead, pleaded guilty to five offences involving being concerned in supplying crack cocaine and heroin, possessing cocaine with intent to supply, possessing criminal property and refusing to provide a sample for a drug test.

Gary Lawrenson, defending, said that Corlett, who has eight previous convictions, had been very frank with police. “He has taken me back to another era, he is old school.”
He had had a difficult childhood, with his mum dying when he was 13 following alcohol abuse and his father died when he was 17 for “similar reasons” and the defendant has had mental health problems since his teens.
“His periods in custody have been getting longer and longer. I told him he was in danger of being institutionalised and he said he already is,” said Mr Lawrenson.
During his last sentence he lost his accommodation and had a melt down on his release and could not cope outside prison.
He has a girlfriend and is a dad to her young children but he has “ a borderline personality disorder and could not cope with his release into freedom despite his girlfriend and the two children,”said Mr Lawrenson.

The court heard that he has been recalled to prison as he was on licence at the time of the drug dealing from a 30 month sentence in November 2022 for two threatening with a blade offences.
Jailing him for three years Judge Anil Murray said he needed to change his ways and warned him if he commits further offences after his release he will be recalled again.


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