A COUNTY lines drug dealer who was caught selling heroin in Kidderminster whilst on the run has been spared jail.

Marwan Aweys, aged 18, who is a victim of modern day slavery, was recruited into a drug racket in the Midlands and Gloucestershire.

The first time the teenager was caught in a flat in Cheltenham, he was surrounded by drugs, cash, a Samurai sword and a claw hammer.

He was charged and bailed - but then failed to turn up at court and was arrested again more than a year later, this time in Kidderminster where he was seen selling heroin from a Mercedes car.

But at Gloucester crown court Judge Ian Lawrie QC decided not to lock up Aweys, of Farcroft Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, and instead ordered him to do unpaid work as part of a community order.

Aweys pleaded guilty to offering to supply crack cocaine and heroin in Cheltenham on March 15 2018 and again on March 18 2018 when he was aged just 16.

He also admitted possession of heroin with the intention to sell in Kidderminster on Aug 9 2019 when he was 17.

Prosecutor Alec Williams said: “In March 2018 police investigating the 'county lines' situation attended an address in Churn Avenue in Whaddon, Cheltenham, at which Aweys was staying.

“In his bedroom they found him surrounded by a claw hammer and a samurai sword and drug paraphernalia and cash, believed to be the proceeds of drug dealing. He had £195 in notes and £22 in coins. There were mobile phones with clear evidence of drug dealing with messages that stated that ‘good quality heroin now available.'

Aweys was released on bail by the police after being charged but he failed to appear at court after being interviewed by the Modern Slavery Referral unit in the Spring of 2019 and a warrant for his arrest was issued, said Mr Williams.

Aweys next turned up in Kidderminster, Worcs, on August 9th 2019, after police witnessed 'activity between known drug users and the occupants of a Mercedes vehicle,' the prosecutor said.

“The police followed the vehicle for a short distance before stopping it in Mill Street. Aweys was in the passenger seat and he immediately decamped. Officers gave chase on foot. Aweys tried to dispose of the evidence of a number of Class A drug wraps and a number of mobile phones, all of which were recovered by the police.

“The 20 wraps were analysed and these contained heroin. The phones all had evidence of drug dealing and he had £723 in cash on him."

Giles Nelson, defending, said: “Aweys had a middling role within this set up. He is effectively a victim himself being so young with no previous convictions.”

Judge Lawrie added: “Aweys appears to have been a victim of modern slavery at the age of 16. Those behind the county lines operations often target vulnerable victims. He has clearly been drawn into this life.

“The concern I have is that with the Worcestershire case he was a young person showing good knowledge of street dealing in class A drugs.

“I have concerns that if I sentence him to a community order he will go on to commit further offences.”

But the judge steered away from a custodial sentence and instead subjected Aweys to a three-year community order comprising of 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

He also subjected Aweys to six month GPS monitoring, monthly judicial reviews and ordered him to pay an £85 victim surcharge.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the cash and the destruction of the weapons, the drugs and all the paraphernalia.