A JUDGE gave the family of a man with learning disabilities a stinging reprimand after he was exploited into dealing drugs by his own cousins.

Aftab Ahmed, 20, of Devonshire Street, Keighley, who has physical and mental disabilities, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, after being caught street dealing heroin and crack cocaine in Keighley on August 8, 2018.

In the sentencing hearing at Bradford Crown Court, Judge Jonathan Rose told Ahmed’s family they had “failed him” in allowing his cousins to pressure him into crime.

He was seen by a member of the public dealing drugs, and when he was arrested by police was found in possession of 18 wraps of drugs and £100 in cash.

He admitted dealing drugs and said he had been doing it for a couple of weeks.

In police interview, Ahmed made up a story that he had taken out a business loan, but his business had fallen through so he had decided to deal drugs to pay back the loan.

In mitigation, James Bourn-Arton said this story was “simply fiction”.

He said: “The reality unfortunately is the men behind this are his cousins.

“What was it that led to him becoming involved with drugs? Unfortunately, his connection is his family.

“He has grown up with them and they knew exactly what he is like. He said he was paid £50 a week to deal, but he had not received any money from them.

“It is a cruel form of exploitation by his own family members. He was given the dealing phone and drugs and told what to do and was coerced and was exploited.

“He has a learning disability. He has a good character and has shown remorse. He pleaded guilty in the magistrates’ court.

“Such is his level of vulnerability, in custody he would be in solitary confinement which would be of no benefit to him. He is not a threat to the public and custody would have no impact on his future offending.”

An officer from the Probation Service said other inmates would “make mincemeat” of Ahmed if he was sent to prison.

Mr Bourn-Arton added: “He has a loving and supportive family who will make sure he is not exposed to this kind of thing again.”

In sentencing Ahmed, Judge Jonathan Rose gave Ahmed’s family, who were present in court, a scalding lecture.

He said: “I have no doubt he has a loving and supportive family, but where were they when he was out on the streets dealing drugs for several weeks?”

Addressing Ahmed, he said: “I hope by now you know a little about heroin and crack cocaine and the problems they cause.

“You are an illustration of the problems these drugs cause. It’s not just addicts who risk poor health or death, but people also commit other crimes in the drug trade.

“That is why those who deal drugs in this city receive prison sentences, because they must be punished, and the message must be made clear.

“These offences were committed on that date, but that was not the only date you dealt drugs.

“You lied to police saying you had to pay off a business loan. Your lie was naïve to try and protect others.”

Turning to Ahmed’s family, he continued: “You are said to have a loving and caring family, but that family has failed to protect you and the community. You have failed to protect him from members of his own family.

“The family must share some of the shame. Your involvement was because of pressure placed on you by members of your own family because of your limitations and intelligence.

“I don’t think a young man like you would have got involved other than because of other men with more criminal intelligence than you.

“But this court sends drug dealers to prison, and this was not a single offence, it was a period of offending.”

However, Judge Rose suspended the two-year prison sentence given to Ahmed, adding: “Do I send you to prison where they will make mincemeat of you?

“No. That is not the appropriate outcome and would be disproportionate for someone with physical and mental limitations.”

Turning again to Ahmed’s family, Judge Rose concluded: “Do you members of his family understand if you fail him again, he will go to prison for two or more years?”

Sitting in the public gallery, Ahmed’s family nodded at Judge Rose.

Ahmed was also given a six-month 7pm to 7am curfew, monitored by electronic tag, and ordered to pay £125 in the next seven days under the Proceeds of Crime Act.