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Teen tried to take over drug ring by stealing graft phone and paid the price

A teenager was stabbed 27 times by a gang of men with machetes after trying to take over the running of a drugs ring.

Alfie Hodgin's dealing was uncovered by police after they found him lying in the street in a pool of his own blood, and with more than £2,000 of heroin and crack cocaine. This vicious assault had been an act of "retribution" after the 18-year-old had stolen drugs and a graft phone belonging to the county lines operation he had previously been working for.

Liverpool Crown Court heard today, Wednesday, that officers rushed to Westminster Road in Ellesmere Port town centre at around 5.15pm on July 14 this year after the teen was discovered "slumped on the floor covered in blood". Derek Jones, prosecuting, said he had "clearly been subjected to a serious assault with weapons, thought to be machetes".

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Hodgin, of Manor Road in Liscard, was taken to hospital after suffering "significant" injuries. He was discharged after two weeks, but was then immediately arrested as he had been in possession of £1,220 of heroin and £1,100 of crack cocaine at the time of his assault.

Police also seized £1,208 in cash from the defendant. A graft phone - which contained dozens of flare messages advertising drugs for sale, which had been sent out to customers over the previous eight days - was found next to him on the ground.

Hodgin, who appeared via video link to HMP Altcourse wearing a black Under Armour zip-up top and a beanie hat, has 14 previous convictions for 29 offences. In 2014, he became "one of the youngest people ever to receive an anti-social behaviour order" aged just 10.

His rap sheet includes theft, criminal damage, assault and breaching this ASBO. Hodgin was first jailed in 2019 for possession of a bladed article in a public place, then received further time behind bars in February 2021 after being caught with drugs, a phone and a "couple of weapons" in his prison cell.

He had been out on licence at the time of the machete attack. John Weate, defending, said: "The defendant accepts that originally he was put to work.

"However, he reneged on that and he effectively told the people who were originally in charge what to do with themselves. He then took control of the graft phone and he took control of the supply.

"If ever there was a case which demonstrates, when people fall into debt, the types of threats that they operate under. As a consequence of that and going into the business himself, he was attacked by four men with machetes and suffered 27 stab wounds - suffering significant injuries which resulted in him being in hospital for a period of two weeks."

Judge Stuart Driver KC said at this point: "He, in effect, stole the phone and the drugs and began to deploy them by selling for his own profit. The violence that befell him was in retribution for that crime."

Mr Weate replied: "That is the top and bottom of it. It is frightening to see how serious the trade of class A drugs is and the consequences for people who involve themselves in it on the streets in our country and in our area.

"Quite easily, this defendant could have been murdered as a consequence of this savage attack he suffered. Thankfully, the defendant recovered from that.

"His main mitigation is his age and his background. He had had an appalling start in life.

"From a very young age, probably in his infancy, he has been subjected to living in a violent and criminal environment and a complete mistrust has developed within him of adults and people who may on the face of it be looking to help him. He is one of the youngest people ever to receive an anti-social behaviour order, at the age of 10.

"Everything has been disrupted by this life experience, which thankfully the vast majority of children don't have to experience. His education was completely and utterly disrupted through bad behaviour and through other issues which existed in his life.

"The glimmer of hope is a suggestion he wants to change. He seems determined to get a grip of his life and to do his level best in the future to make sure he doesn't find himself in this position again."

Hodgin admitted possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine and was locked up for two-and-a-half years. He must also pay a victim surcharge, while forfeiture of the drugs and phone was ordered.

Sentencing, the judge said: "You were working for others, but then decided to appropriate the controlling telephone and drugs then deployed them by selling them for your own profit. The case is further aggravated by your criminal record.

"On the other hand, there is a good deal of mitigation. Firstly, your age - but also your clear immaturity and your difficult background and the extreme disadvantages with which you began life."

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