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Drugs debt saw Oxford dealer selling heroin and crack in school car park


Sep 16, 2022

A drug dealer caught with crack and heroin in a primary school car park was working to pay off a debt – incurred when his drugs were previously seized by police.

Suhayb Chisti, 19, was subject to an 18 month suspended jail sentence imposed just seven months earlier when he was caught in the car park of East Oxford Primary School, off Union Street, on August 10 this year.

Appearing before Oxford Crown Court on Thursday morning, Chisti, of Milton Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class A drugs and simple possession of cannabis.

Emma Hornby, defending, said her client’s ‘expectation in terms of financial advantage is limited to paying off this drug debt, incurred as a result of the initial conviction’.

The court heard he was given the suspended sentence by a judge in St Albans in January, for dealing heroin and crack cocaine on August 5 last year. He had managed to complete more than 120 hours of the unpaid work ordered by the Hertfordshire circuit judge.

But despite being subject to the suspended sentence, police found him with wraps of heroin and crack cocaine in Oxford on August 10. It was accepted he was working to the orders of others, higher-up in the chain and well known to police in the city.

Prosecutor Nigel Ogborne told Judge Ian Pringle KC: “He claims he was carrying out this role on the particular day in oxford on the basis he owed a drugs debt. That is a very common story, which this court unfortunately hears all too often.”

The judge said: “It is a story which may be true, it may not be. But it’s not a new one to me.”

Chisti was remanded in custody to be sentenced on Tuesday, when he will also be dealt with for breaching the St Albans Crown Court suspended sentence.

Earlier in the hearing, Judge Pringle said, for technical reasons connected to the two different computer systems used by the courts, it was not possible to deal with the breach that morning.

“Basically, the system doesn’t allow us to do so,” he said.

Dealing class A drugs carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, although sentences vary widely depending on the scale of the dealing and the person’s role within the chain of command – and it is very rare for a life term to be imposed.

Those caught dealing class A drugs such as cocaine or heroin for a third time face a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward