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Northern Ireland cocaine dealer and ice cream man charges clueless parents £20 a pop for doorstep Santa visit


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Shane Carton as Santa

Shane Carton as Santa

Shane Carton, drug dealer turned ice cream man

Shane Carton, drug dealer turned ice cream man

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Shane Carton as Santa

A convicted cocaine dealer is offering unsuspecting parents a doorstep Santa service from a Mr Whippy van.

This newspaper previously revealed that ex-con Shane Carton was selling ice cream at one of Northern Ireland's most popular beaches despite his criminal past.

After being convicted of pushing £50 wraps of cocaine, the authorities seized more than £127,000 from him under proceeds of crime legislation.

A judge also branded him "evasive and untruthful" during a civil action in 2014.

In 2018, and again earlier this year, this newspaper revealed how the former drug dealer was working out of an ice cream van called Sambo Mr Whippy on East Strand beach in Portrush.

Despite his drug dealing being exposed, Carton continued to trade and is now offering a doorstep Santa service, charging £20 per visit, to families across Co Antrim and further afield during the festive season.

During each visit, for a maximum of up to four children, each youngster receives ice cream, candy floss and a Christmas gift.

Concerned members of the public contacted this newspaper to express dismay that Carton was selling ice cream to children and dressing up as Santa.

When contacted about the issues raised Carton repeatedly said "no comment" before insisting his Santa service was Covid-19 compliant.

He said: "I have a safety screen in the van, I stay in the van, I'm two metres apart, what's the concern?

"How would it involve contact? I'm not commenting anymore or explaining myself, thank you very much."

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Shane Carton doing his doorstep Santa service.

Shane Carton doing his doorstep Santa service.

Shane Carton doing his doorstep Santa service.

Norman Hillis, UUP alderman for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, said he would be looking into the legality of the Santa service and questioned the safety of the visits in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

"Well, it certainly has a festive link. Shane Carton dressed as Santa... the mind boggles," he added.

"I would wonder if it was Covid-secure. I thought all this sitting on Santa's knee stuff wasn't allowed, (never minding the) fact that he's a convicted drug dealer.

"That is potentially stretching the rules, I would think, because the children will need to go up to the window (of the ice cream van) to greet Santa.

"I know the council has, for instance, cancelled a lot of its Christmas stuff.

"All the kids would have got a wee party bag with gift sets in them, but that's all been cancelled.

"It strikes me as being a bit worrisome. I haven't heard of anybody doing a Santa service or anything similar. I must give (him) full marks for imagination.

"I find it hard to believe anybody would book someone to come around dressed as Santa in an ice cream van. I would love to know if it's legal."

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Shane Carton, drug dealer turned ice cream man

Shane Carton, drug dealer turned ice cream man

Shane Carton, drug dealer turned ice cream man

Carton was convicted of dealing cocaine after the Coleraine PSNI's serious and organised crime unit launched an investigation.

Several years later after his conviction, he sued a pub for £60,000 in compensation, but the case was thrown out. The former dealer, then 41, said he had slipped on a drink-covered floor at the Anchor Bar in Portstewart

However, High Court judge Mr Justice Horner dismissed the case, branding him "evasive and untruthful", adding: "I consider it more likely that he fell descending stairs while in a state of intoxication brought on by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both."

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