A JUDGE has said there is a trend of young people being exploited as part of an attempt to “flood Colchester and Kelvedon areas with drugs”.

Judge Levett made the remarks on Thursday when he sentenced Tommy Minton for drugs offences and facilitating another person with a view to exploitation.

The operation involved Minton, 20, recruiting a youth who was transported from London to Colchester.

He said: “There seems to be a trend of these drug lines exploiting distressed persons who come from other metropolitan areas such as Manchester and London and then are taken to the outlying market towns into Essex and Suffolk.

“The period of time we are dealing with is nine months – the equivalent of dealing in that period of time could be 4,000 deals.

“If that’s £10 per deal, that’s potentially £40,000.

“This was a particularly well-oiled and carefully planned operation with the intention to flood the Colchester and Kelvedon areas with drugs.”

He added: “The exploitation of a young person is a factor that aggravates these circumstances considerable in my judgement.”

Minton, of Beach Road, Clacton, was sentenced to six years and nine months in a young offenders’ institution.