TEENAGE drug dealers, one armed with a knife, sold crack cocaine and heroin in a popular Hereford park used by vulnerable children and families.

County Lines 'salesmen and couriers' Jamani Mcooty, caught with a knife for the fifth time, and Lekarri Moses were both in Bishops Meadow dealing the class A drugs when they were stopped and searched by police.

Mcooty, now aged 19, of Brittan Close, Shard End, Birmingham was detained for 53 months while his co-defendant, Lekarri Moses, now 20, of Livingstone Road, Handsworth was detained for 28 months at Worcester Crown Court on Friday.

Both had admitted possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply after they were stopped in the town on September 4, 2019, only entering their guilty pleas on what would have been on the day of trial in February.

Mcooty alone pleaded guilty to possession of a knife in public - the fifth time he has been caught with a blade in such circumstances. Unlike the drugs offences, he admitted this knife offence at the first available opportunity.

In total the two man team had 35 wraps of class A drugs and £310 in cash - the proceeds of 31 deals they had already made, each worth £10.

The judge accepted that neither man had influence on other people further up the chain of command but must have had some understanding the scale of the operation they were both involved in.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said: "This is another sad case in which young men with a real potential in life get themselves involved in County Lines drug dealing, thinking they weren't going to get caught then ending up before a crown court judge to be sentenced for it.

"You're both from the Birmingham area and you represent a two-man team of County Lines drugs couriers and salesman who had travelled some considerable distance from Birmingham down to Hereford in order to supply class A drugs to Hereford users."

He told them they had both expected 'some significant financial reward' which was 'why you went to the trouble of travelling down to Hereford to do this business'.

Moses, who had no previous convictions, had been trying to pay off his own drugs debt from smoking cannabis.

The judge accepted his basis of plea that had he been put under pressure by people further up the chain to repay the cash.

However, he noted that dealers who provide drugs on credit 'do want to get paid and will apply pressure' which Moses would have known and still 'made the choice' to be in their debt.

Judge Cartwright also accepted that the death of the defendant's friend was 'a traumatic event in your life' but also noted that 'many people suffer bereavement of one kind or another without turning to illegal drugs and prefer to go to the doctor to get prescription drugs'.

Mcooty's basis of plea was that he was dealing not for the money but to get drugs for himself.

The judge told him that knives 'cause many deaths and serious injuries every year and you must have been aware of that'.

Judge Cartwright added: "The knife was seized in Bishops Meadow which is a place where vulnerable people, including children, are likely to be present.

"The really serious aggravating feature is that, even though you're so young, this is the fifth time you have been sentenced for possession of a knife in a public place."

Mcooty was 'not a man of good character' and Bishops Meadow was a place 'families use'.

However, he accepted mitigation in the form of the delay in the case and that he was only 18 at the time.

Judge Cartwright said the time Mcooty had spent on a qualifying curfew (415 days) would be marked by a reduction of 208 days in the length of his 53 month custodial sentence.

Both men can expect to serve half their sentence in custody and half on licence in the community.

The judge further ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and the confiscation of the criminal cash.

A victim surcharge, a statutory amount, must be paid by each defendant within three months of his release.