Sixteen-year-old ran major crack and heroin ring on Leeds estates that was smashed by undercover officers

Clayton was just 16 at the time he was running a drugs line. (pic by WYP / National World)
Clayton was just 16 at the time he was running a drugs line. (pic by WYP / National World)

Callum Clayton was jailed for more than three years at Leeds Crown Court this week after his dealing gang was successfully infiltrated by undercover officers.

The plan was identify and arrest Class A-drug dealing in Little London, Harehills, Chapeltown, Lincoln Green and Burmantofts, prosecutor Andrew Petterson told the court.

The operation ran between November and December 2021, and Clayton – who is now 18 – was identified as a major player in the chain, running “drug lines” – phone numbers for users to ring and order crack cocaine and heroin.

He had others working beneath him, directing them on where and how to deal, and sold drugs directly to undercover officers on seven occasions during the five-week period. Officers bought drugs a total of 11 times.

Three co-defendants involved have been sentenced previously with two other teenagers admitting conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and a man in his 40s who allowed his premises to be used for packaging and selling the drugs.

Clayton, of Nowell Avenue, Harehills, admitted conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin. He has one previous conviction for robbery.

Mitigating, Imran Khan said Clayton had been “criminally exploited” at a young age to run drugs, and was not living a lavish lifestyle from ill-gotten gains. He said he had no father figure in his life and had moved around different areas as a youngster.

Clayton claimed he was forced to sell drugs or face violent repercussions, which was questioned by Recorder Abdul Iqbal KC. He offered Clayton the chance to give evidence in court to back up his claims, but he refused.

Recorder Iqbal therefore rejected the claim, saying he was “freely involved” in drug dealing and under no duress.

Jailing him for 43 months, he told him: “You directed others and therefore had an organisational role at a higher level. You provided others with instructions to carry out their street dealing. You played, in my view, a role more culpable than the others.”