A MAN jailed for setting up a county lines drug network in Basingstoke has been pictured for the first time.

Matthew Tesfamichael admitted setting up the 'Slim' drugs line in October 2020, and made regular trips between London and Basingstoke to reload with drugs and sell them on to addicts in the town.

The court had been told how the 28-year-old had to was left homeless once he left prison on licence for a "very similar" offence in Worcester in 2019.

Basingstoke Gazette: Matthew TesfamichaelMatthew Tesfamichael

But Recorder Malcolm Gibney said that he had made the decision to keep a roof over his head "at the expense of victims of drug dealing".

"You fall to be sentenced for your part in what is becoming a scourge in this area, county lines drug dealing," he continued. "Over the period you were dealing, the telephone evidence demonstrates that this wasn’t a one off, this was a series of visits, using a usual phone line.

"You indicate you recognise just how selfish it was, but you wanted to keep a roof over your head. You did that at the expense of the victims of drug dealing."

He was jailed for three years and nine months at Winchester Crown Court on Friday.

Tesfamichael, of Jeymer Avenue, Brent, had stood accused alongside fellow Londoner Badru Kaddu, who was caught with around £1,700 of drugs, including one lump of heroin worth almost £1,000 alone, and £815 in cash at Basingstoke's Crowne Plaza hotel in May.

Kaddu, of Orchardson Street, was spared an immediate prison sentence after the court found there was "a realistic prospect of rehabilitation".

Winchester Crown Court was told the Kaddu had never been before the courts before, and only became involved in drugs "out of desperation".

His barrister, Aleksander Lloyd, said that he had lost his job as a sales consultant at Selfridges through no fault of his own: "This is something very much out of character.

"I would submit is that Mr Kaddu is at a crossroads. Whichever path he takes will be difficult, but the difficulty of a custodial sentence will be that much greater."

Sentencing Kaddu, of Orchardson Street, London, Recorder Gibney said: "You have never been before the courts before, and your history is that of someone who was reasonably well educated, content to hold down employment, and it was through no fault of your own you lost your job.

"References showed that when working, you were reliable and consistent, and you have support of family members who speak well of you."

He sentenced him to two years in prison, suspended for two years. Kaddu will also have to do 150 hours of unpaid work and take part in 15 rehabilitation activity days.

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