Drug dealer admits selling at school

A TEENAGER has admitted to drug dealing in the grounds of an Ipswich school for nearly four years.Richard Charles, 18 said he had been regularly dealing drugs in the grounds of Northgate School for 45 months.

A TEENAGER has admitted to drug dealing in the grounds of an Ipswich school for nearly four years.

Richard Charles, 18 said he had been regularly dealing drugs in the grounds of Northgate School for 45 months.

He was caught by plain clothes police and a sniffer dog as he sat in Christchuch Park.

He had on him a quantity of cannabis, £200 in cash, a set of scales and a notebook with names and addresses in it.

The teenager from Alderman Road, pleaded guilty to charges of supplying quantities of cannabis at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court after being arrested on June 9 this year.

He is to be sentenced at a later date and has been released on bail.

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Lesla Small, prosecuting, said: "It was at 3pm that police were walking with a drugs dog around the park.

"The dog sat down near to the defendant, signalling that he had drugs upon him.

"Mr Charles was found with a quantity of cannabis in bags with cannabis leaves on them.

"He also had a small set of scales, £200 and a notebook with names and contact numbers in it."

Charles said he bought an ounce of cannabis, between £90-£120 worth, at a time and broke it down into smaller amounts.

He said he would make between £30-£70 a week selling the drugs.

Penny McVay, chief executive of the drug and alcohol charity NORCAS, said: "It's clearly worrying from a security point of view.

"It must be difficult for schools but you do wonder how it happened.

"Cannabis is fairly freely available in society and sadly a lot of young people don't regard it as a drug, but see smoking it as a normal activity.

"I'd assume crimes like this are fairly common place, it's grown from smoking cigarettes behind the bike sheds, but this case does sound particularly serious.

"Kids will be kids but having scales and a notebook show this as a sophisticated operation."

Neil Watts, headteacher at Northgate High School, Sidegate Lane, said: "I was aware of this case, which involved a boy in the upper sixth. When I was told by police about the case, the boy had already left school otherwise he would have been permanently excluded.

"We will work closely with police on any matter such as this happening in the school. We have a continuous anti-drugs policy and this is taught through the curriculum every year.

"This is the only case of its kind that I have known in the sixth form."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said all schools have stringent drugs policies in place.

She said: "Schools across the whole age range have drug policies that outline what they cover in their drug education lessons, as well as how drug incidents (including the discovery of paraphernalia in the school or grounds) will be dealt with. 

"These policies ideally involve governors, parents, pupils and staff.

"Increasingly parents, staff and governors are invited to school information evenings on substance misuse."

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