Reveller’s plan to sell ecstasy to Creamfields is thwarted

A REVELER smuggled Class A drugs into Creamfields in order to sell them inside the festival – only to find the tablets were fake.

Declan Latimer was surprised by fake ecstasy by police as he entered the Daresbury site at last summer’s event.

And the 20-year-old, who has no previous convictions, was jailed for two years at Chester Crown Court on Thursday April 28.

The court heard that the groundskeeper at the golf club, from Blyth in Northumberland, was caught in possession of 50 pills – which he believed to be MDMA, but which turned out to be caffeine – and a small amount of cannabis for personal use by officers.

He intended to consume about a quarter of the pills himself and give another quarter to his three friends, with the remaining half to be whipped out to other festival-goers.

Described as “immature and naïve” but “very stable, grounded and hardworking”, Latimer was attending his first music festival and had searched the internet for advice on how to smuggle drugs into such an event.

The defendant admitted to attempting to possess ecstasy with the intent to supply and possess cannabis at an earlier hearing.

At sentencing, recorder William Waldron said: ‘Selling or attempting to sell Class A drugs at a festival is extremely serious business. They provide potentially dangerous and deadly drugs to people they know nothing about.

“The consequences can be, and unfortunately in many cases, tragic.

“It is a fact of the Creamfields festival that those who enter with drugs are likely to dispose of them in the amnesty bins. They know the consequences can be dire, as there are signs and posters warning attendees that people have already been arrested and sent to jail.

“Despite this, you risked your arm.

“You have a job and you are a hard-working young man. You were refreshingly honest when the police came to talk to you.

“I accept that there is a certain naivety about you, but you weren’t so naive that you hadn’t searched the internet for the best ways to introduce drugs into festivals.

“Most likely, this lesson once learned will not be repeated. It was out of character.

“I thought long and hard about whether I could suspend this sentence, and I’m afraid I can’t.

“The seriousness of it all is that you take a Class A drug – or at least what you thought you were – to a festival to sell it. She is endemic to Creamfields.

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“I’m afraid the penalty is immediate detention.”

Latimer, who has also been told to pay a victim surcharge, will serve up to half his sentence behind bars at a young offenders institute before being released on license.

He waved at his father in the public gallery as he was led into the cells.

Meanwhile, a reformed offender who had turned his life around and was on a salary of £50,000 a year was also locked up after smuggling ecstasy into the festival for him and his friends.

Daniel Hartley bought the 23 pills after the band raised £100 and then transported the illicit substances to the Creamfields site.

But he was searched by staff after being scolded by a drug-addicted dog.

The 35-year-old, from Morecambe, has five convictions for eight offenses but has not appeared in court since 2014.

Hartley had since moved to the Netherlands, living in a village on the outskirts of Eindhoven and earning the impressive salary of a maintenance engineer.

He made the impulsive decision to attend the festival on a home visit after a spare ticket became available.

Defense lawyer Richard Vardon told the court: “There is no reason why he should not function as a law-abiding and hard-working member of society.

“He is someone who has quite an impressive character and who is very well liked.

“How the hell did he commit such a stupid offence?”

“It’s a classic case of a group of young men, when they were in a good mood, consuming alcohol and deciding to pool their money and try to buy ecstasy tablets.

“He’s the madman who stayed with the baby.

“The defendant walked through in glorious technicolor his own stupidity, having done so much to change his life.

“He wishes he hadn’t done it and wasn’t there.

“If he needed it, this is the greatest revival he could have had.”

Hartley, who was supported by his ‘devastated’ parents in the public gallery, admitted to possessing ecstasy with intent to supply and was jailed for a year.

Warrington Guardian:

He was also told to pay a victim surcharge.

On sentencing, Judge Simon Berkson said: ‘Cheshire Police are investing heavily in keeping order at the festival so that law-abiding festival-goers can have a good time in a safe environment.

“There are clear warnings about the consequences of bringing drugs into the festival.

“You, despite these efforts, walked past the amnesty bins and ignored the clear warnings given. You took the risk.

“A proper sentence can only be obtained by immediate imprisonment in this case.”

Confiscation and destruction of the drugs were ordered in both cases.

Several other defendants are expected to be sentenced for drug-related offenses at Creamfields 2021 over the coming week.

Jan G. Gilbert