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Chatham teen jailed for two years for drug offences

A teenager said to have “very great prospects” as a talented footballer plunged into the depths of drug-dealing after his father died, a court heard.

Having excelled at school, Alexander Hamill won a four-year soccer scholarship in the United States.

But before the 18-year-old could take up the offer he was caught dealing Class A drugs from a house in Medway.

Hamill pleaded guilty to the offences in November.
Hamill pleaded guilty to the offences in November.

Maidstone Crown Court was told police went to the address in Thorold Road, Chatham, on November 3 last year to investigate a report there was a vulnerable boy there.

Hamill answered the door and on seeing the officers ran back inside. Asked what he had as he put his hand in his pocket, he replied: “Some stuff.”

Prosecutor Mary Jacobson said 63 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine with a street value of £600 were seized from him.

The mobile phone of a 16-year-old boy there rang and when an officer answered it the caller asked for both of the drugs.

During a search of the house £135 cash and three other mobile phones were found. A “very large Zombie knife” was on a radiator.

“Neither of them lived there,” said Miss Jacobson. “This is a case of cuckooing, coming down from London to sell drugs in Chatham.”

Paul Lamb, defending, said Hamill, who admitted two offences of possessing drugs with intent to supply, was very intelligent, having passed nine GCSEs at college, some of them A grades.

But the teenager turned to crime after his father was diagnosed with cancer and told in July last year he only had two weeks to live. He survived until September.

“He now understands he didn’t deal with the situation,” said Mr Lamb. “He became estranged from his mother, who is a nurse. She couldn’t get through to him.”

Hamill was told he could be housed in Kent. After arriving, he was persuaded to get involved in drugs supply to pay for his accommodation, and did so for up to four weeks before his arrest.

“He understands now his scholarship and prospects are shattered,” said Mr Lamb. “He is an intelligent young man who has made this grave error in his decision making.

“He was a young man with very great prospects. That has been thrown away. His thinking was clearly clouded" - Paul Lamb

“He was a young man with very great prospects. That has been thrown away. His thinking was clearly clouded.

“His life has been devastated over the last 12 months, and now more so as a result of the commission of these offences.”

Sentencing Hamill to two years youth custody, Judge Martin Joy said: “Those who deal in Class A drugs commit an extremely serious offence, because those who abuse drugs commit a filthy and degrading offence. It becomes a filthy and degrading habit.

“It causes huge undermining of individual order and also creates and fuels crime and community disorder. Those who deal in Class A drugs can only expect to be severely punished.”

The judge added: “I am told you are extremely intelligent and knew exactly what you were doing.”

Mr Lamb said the 16-year-old boy also arrested had pleaded not guilty to similar offences in the youth court.

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