I was a teenage drug dealer

By the time he was 12, Lee had already got tangled up in a world of crime and Class A drugs. Now 17, he's left his crack and heroin addiction behind him while he serves a sentence in Feltham Young Offenders' Institution for possession with intent to supply drugs.

True Stories

boy looking troubled

"My step dad beat me so badly I ended up in hospital."

My life started to turn upside-down when my Dad died. I was five and my brother was eight years-old at the time. We then moved to my Mum and Step Dad’s one-bedroom flat in Stretton, where we stayed until we found a council house in Hounslow. That’s when our problems really began.

Starting a life in crime

When we first moved to Hounslow, me and my brother became close. We went to a school where we were the only white people there, including the teachers. We were severely bullied, but started to fight back. Then we moved schools again, but this time made more friends. At the end of each school day we would get changed and go shoplifting from Woolworths; we’d often steal Parker pens to sell to other kids at school.

As for life at home, there was a twist with my Step Dad. Well, what can I say? He is a vicious, wild man who didn’t want us. He started to ‘discipline’ us – he called it this, but anyone else would call it ‘beating’. When I was about seven or eight he’d beaten me so bad I ended up in hospital. This, I suppose, was partly what made me and my brother extremely violent, too. Thankfully, Mum soon moved us further away from our Step Dad. We moved to Aylesbury, where I really went off the rails at the age of 10.

The crimes got worse

The first offence I got caught for was criminal damage to a car – the police gave me a caution for this. Then I started to misuse drugs, which started off with a little spliff but gradually got heavier until I was using drugs every chance I had. By the age of 11 or 12, I was drinking alcohol and taking pills, mushrooms and coke.

Then I got caught for theft and received another caution. Later, I got caught for carrying out thefts, four burglaries, threats to kill and arson with intent to harm someone else’s life. For the latter, I was arrested for attempted murder, which really scared me.

I’d started to skive school and spend more time doing my favourite things: shoplifting and doing lots of drugs. Around this time, things were really breaking down at home so I started to run away – I ran away from home about 25 to 30 times in the space of three months.

Starting to sell drugs

Eventually, I got kicked out of home. I also lost my placement at college, quit my job, crashed my moped and had started selling skunk and getting into fights. I managed to get another job – in fact, I got three: two cleaning jobs and one in a juice bar. I got accommodation at a hostel and had to give up the jobs as I was only 16, so I was relying on selling skunk and robbing to get cash. One of my so-called friends introduced me to crack and heroin, which he was selling for somebody else. The problem was, he’d smoked off the entire crack supply he had so got sacked. I got offered the job instead, which gave me a nice bit of cash-in-hand at the end of the week. I’d help sell about ?10,000 worth of drugs per week, of which me and my mate got a 10% cut – so between us we got roughly ?500 each. When I got more customers I earned around ?1,000 a day. I soon got hooked on heroin and my life went even more downhill. In one day, I could spend around ?100 or more on heroin and even more on crack, as well as drink a litre of vodka and smoke about an eighth of skunk.

Getting caught

I was 16 when I was nicked for four counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, one actual supply of diamorphine (heroin), four possessions of cannabis and possession of an offensive weapon. Three other offences were taken into consideration, including common assault. When I went to court I was told I had carried out a grave crime and that if I was two years older I might’ve received two life sentences for what I did.

So now I’m in a cell in a young offenders’ prison. I’m off all the drugs and also trying to stop smoking tobacco (I’ve been smoking since I was seven). The other good news is that I’m going home soon, under an Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP). I’ll live in a different area to where I was before, and I’ll stay with either my Mum or older brother.

I’m also going to settle down with a job. I will return to jail, except this time I won’t be an offender but a drugs worker. I know how helpful my drugs worker was to me in prison, so I want to help other people get through what I went through. I’m also going to compose my own book which has been inspired by my Catholic faith.

Photo of troubled boy by shutterstock and posed by model

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015