Belfast Telegraph

Drug dealer busted after reporting his mobile phone stolen

By George Jackson

A self-confessed drug dealer was caught after he reported to police that his mobile phone - which contained drugs-related text messages - had been stolen during a burglary of his home.

When police recovered the stolen phone, they found a series of texts relating to the supplying of drugs, the Crown Court in Londonderry heard yesterday.

Before the court was Gerard Lavy from Ballymagowan Avenue in the Creggan area of the city.

He pleaded guilty to eight drugs offences committed during February and March of last year.

Lavy, who was twice subjected to so-called paramilitary punishment attacks, is a remand prisoner in Maghaberry.

He has 64 previous criminal convictions, 18 of them for drugs offences.

A Public Prosecution Service barrister told Judge Philip Babington that on March 10 last year Lavy reported to the police that his house had been burgled.

He told officers that his bank cards and mobile phone were missing.

Later police stopped a man suspected of the burglary and found Lavy's stolen mobile phone on him.

The device was forensically examined and police found 2,000 text messages, eight of which referred to drugs involving six individuals.

The drugs referred to in the text messages were oxycodone, buprenorphine, diazepam, amphetamines and cannabis.

The prosecutor said Lavy had been assessed as being at a high level of reoffending and she said it was the view of the PSNI that he played a major role in street dealing.

A defence barrister said Lavy had been addicted to prescription and non-prescription drugs for the last 12 years.

He added that the defendant's addiction had escalated to him consuming some drugs intravenously.

"He was somewhat unfortunate in terms of how these matters were detected by the police," he said.

"He reported a burglary at his home and the messages were found on his mobile phone, there was no level of sophistication nor guile.

"It was a primitive operation to feed his own drugs addiction.

"He was subjected to a vicious and sustained attack in March of this year by criminal vigilante groups and he still suffers from both the physical and psychological consequences of that attack, in that he underwent three serious operations for the injuries he sustained. He was also the victim of a so-called punishment attack in 2005," the barrister said.

Judge Babington said he had a duty to protect the public and he had to take into consideration the fact that Lavy had been assessed as being at a high risk of reoffending.

Sentencing was adjourned until later this month and Lavy was remanded in continuing custody.

Belfast Telegraph


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