Leeds festival drug-dealing trio avoid prison sentence after four-year wait

Three men have avoided jail for dealing drugs at Leeds Festival, almost four years after the offence took place.

By Richard Beecham
Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:30 pm

Craig Burditt, 33, of Faraday Avenue, Tuxford; Luke Burton, 36, of Myrtle Street, Retford; and Carl Ranshaw, 35, of Lime Tree Avenue, Retford, appeared for sentencing at Leeds Crown Court after being caught trying to sell on some of their stash of ecstasy that had originally been meant for their personal use.

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The judge sentencing the trio called them “foolish”, but added they were otherwise of good character, and that it was not their fault the investigation took almost four years.

The offence took place at the Leeds Festival, which took place in Bramham Park in August 2018.

The court heard that the three were seen at the Leeds Festival on 23 August, 2018 by undercover police officers, and were behaving in a way suggesting they may be trying to sell drugs.

After being searched, the men appeared to be carrying cannabis and £125 of cash. But after searching their tent, officers found 22 bags of ecstasy with a street value of £600.

A search of Burton’s phone showed messages from prospective purchasers of the drugs.

The three men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a class A drug.

Mitigating for Burton, his barrister told the court: “He fully appreciates the seriousness of those offences. He wants to turn back the clock, but he can’t.It was completely out of character and opportunistic.

"They went to this festival with the intention of enjoying themselves, but saw the opportunity to deal some of the drugs that they were wanting to consume themselves.”

Ranshaw’s mitigating barrister said: “This is not something he would have ordinarily got involved in. He is an otherwise law-abiding. His employers think very highly of him.”

He added his client has been unable to start a family over the past four years due to the case hanging over him for so long.

Mitigating for Burditt, his barrister told the court: “He has a lot to lose – a family, a job and the security he provides to that family.

"They are now in their 30s – what is the public good of sending them to prison just to send a message to people who might scan a newspaper?”

The court heard that the three pleaded guilty on the day of their trial to supplying a controlled class A drug.

Sentencing the trio, Judge Andrew Hatton said: "On the street, the drugs would have fetched £600, but in a festival, it was well in excess of that.

"You said the plan was to take the drugs for your own use, but you decided to extent the misery to others and risk their health by selling them the drugs.

"Each of you is now in your early-to-mid 30s, and each of you have never been in trouble before.

"You were operating in an extremely foolish way.”

He told the three that the huge four-year timespan was “not your fault”, and that the three were of otherwise good character.

Judge Hatton sentenced each of the trio to two years imprisonment, suspended for 21 months, as well as 250 hours of unpaid work, and £2,000 each in financial penalties.