A drug dealer who travelled from Scotland to Parklife festival to sell ketamine and MDMA has been jailed.
Jack Stevenson, 22, from Edinburgh, attended the Heaton Park festival with friends and rented a city centre apartment for the weekend.
When he was entering the festival site, security staff searched him and found he had a ‘significant stash’ of drugs – including 13 snap bags of MDMA, 14 tablets of the same drug and three snap bags of ketamine, said to be worth a total of up to £840.
Stevenson, a manager at a mortgage broker, was arrested and messages from his phone indicated that he had been selling ecstasy and cocaine for more than a year prior to Parklife in 2018, including at a festival in Edinburgh.
Sentencing, Judge Richard Mansell QC said a prison sentence was needed in Stevenson’s case to deter others from doing the same.
The judge told him: “This was a significant stash of two of controlled drugs which are commonly purchased and used by festival goers.
“Those who attend festivals include teenagers who are either still at school or who have just left.
“Many of them will have never tried controlled drugs before, others will have dabbled with drugs but will be relatively inexperienced and naive.
“It is every parents’ worst nightmare that they may be the unlucky one whose child does not return from a festival but who tragically dies from an adverse reaction to ecstasy or ketamine or some other drugs.”
Judge Mansell told the court how at last year’s festival five people were hospitalised after taking a high strength batch of ecstasy.
At the time of the festival, organisers had put out a warning on social media about a ‘particularly strong’ batch of ecstasy that had led to the death of two young people, and 15 others being hospitalised at a music festival in Portsmouth.
Manchester Crown Court heard that the night before he left for Parklife, Stevenson had sent a message on WhatsApp to a group of people telling them that if they needed any drugs then they should contact him that night.
The judge said messages recovered by police showed that the drugs Stevenson was caught with represented only a ‘fraction’ of the illicit substances he brought to Manchester.
The judge continued: “You may only have been 20 at the time but it is clear to me that you were far from naive about these matters.”
He also said that Stevenson’s ‘good job’ and the security it brought did not deter him from dealing drugs.
Defending, Peter Gilmour said Stevenson’s father died suddenly about five years ago, and that he had turned to drugs as a ‘way of coping’ with the bereavement.
His mother, who had previously moved abroad after splitting with his father, has since moved back to Scotland and relied on her son being the ‘main breadwinner’.
Stevenson, who has no previous convictions, no longer takes drugs and was recently promoted to a managerial role by his employers, the court was told.
Mr Gilmour appealed for the judge to take an ‘unusual course’ and allow Stevenson to retain his freedom.
But the judge sentenced Stevenson, who was 20 at the time of the offence, to 16 months in a young offender institution.
Stevenson, of Portobello High Street, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply MDMA and ketamine.
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