A COCAINE dealer who sent out mess text messages offering to sell drugs to customers as young as 16 has been locked up.

Liam Matthews, 20, of Fields Road, Oakfield, Cwmbran, advertised his goods through 'text bombs' - group messages delivered to a large number of potential clients.

When police raided his home, they found his mobile phone contained more than 6,000 Facebook and text messages, Newport Crown Court heard.


Meirion Davies, prosecuting, said: “They showed he was actively involved in the supply of class A drugs.

“He was sending text bombs to a number of contacts, some to teenagers, children as young as 16.”

Matthews pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine and making an offer to supply cannabis.

The offences were committed between July 1 and November 12.

By admitting the offences, the defendant was in breach of a conditional discharge for resisting arrest.

Martha Smith-Higgins, mitigating, said: “He understands the seriousness of these offences. The defendant has autism after a bout of meningitis and has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old.”

His barrister added that Matthews’ father had been a “huge role model” for him but he had “got involved with the wrong crowd” after his suicide.

She said: “The defendant pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and is extremely remorseful for his actions.

“He realises he has let people down and has described prison as an eye-opener.”

Judge Daniel Williams told Matthews: “Your offending is aggravated by the fact that you offered to supply young teenagers by sending out text bombs.”

He sent the defendant to a young offender institution for two years and four months.

The judge told him he will have to pay a victim surcharge upon his release from custody.

Matthews, who appeared via video link from Cardiff Prison, will not face Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings.

Speaking outside the court, Detective Constable Sean Meyrick said: “We welcome the sentence imposed, and I wish to reassure the public that we will continue in our fight against those who are supplying the most serious drugs to others in Gwent.

"We will continue to work hard in order to tackle those who supply these drugs, which can cause misery and harm to our communities.

"Anyone with any information or concerns about drug supply can call us on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."