An Ellesmere Port drug dealer who forced and threatened his victim to work for him and sell cocaine has been jailed for more than 11 years.
Michael Shone, of no fixed address, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 7 December where he was sentenced to a total of 11 years and six months.
He is also subject to a restraining order against the victim and his family.
Shone pleaded guilty to section 47 assault, blackmail and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs (cocaine) earlier on in the hearing.
The court heard how the victim was in £3,000 debt to 37-year-old Shone who used extreme threats of violence to get his own way.
The debt soon became ‘debt bondage’ – where a person is forced to work to pay off a debt.
In order to pay off the sum, the victim agreed to hold Shone’s stash, deliver drugs, and receive payments – he even was made to give a portion of his weekly wages from a legitimate job to Shone.
However, this wasn’t enough and Shone continued to increase the debt and exerted more control over the victim by moving into his property and making him feel that he needed to leave his job.
On one occasion, Shone even attacked the victim with a knife leaving him with several cuts on his thigh and arm as he believed he was not taking the drug dealing responsibility seriously enough.
Shone had also made threats verbally and over text message to shoot and harm the victim’s family members.
After gaining a catalogue of evidence against Shone, he was arrested and subsequently charged by officers in October 2021.
Detective Constable Tim Cope said, “Shone is well-known in the Ellesmere Port area and he has brought nothing but misery to the local community.
“He is a dangerous individual and his sentence reflects that.
“Not only have we got a violent offender off our streets, we have shown that drug dealing in Ellesmere Port will not be tolerated.
“While this investigation has now concluded, our fight against illegal drugs, and those who supply them, continues.
“We will listen to anyone who wishes to come forward and will act on any information passed to us in order to bring offenders like Shone to justice.
“I hope that this sends a clear and strong message that we will do everything we can to pursue those who prey on vulnerable people and cause misery to others in order to keep Cheshire a safer place for all.”
Anyone with concerns or information about suspected drug dealing in their community, can report it to Cheshire Constabulary by calling 101 or providing details online via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report
Information can also be given anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously