Two drug dealers who trafficked a vulnerable teenage boy more than 100 miles away from his home to Suffolk to sell crack cocaine and heroin have been jailed. 

James Andall and Alex Anderson were jailed for more than 13 years combined at Luton Crown Court on Friday. 

It comes after a 15-year-old boy went missing from his Bedfordshire home in February 2020.

East Anglian Daily Times: The pair have been jailed for more than 13 years combinedThe pair have been jailed for more than 13 years combined (Image: Bedfordshire police)

The teenager was found three weeks later in Lowestoft, in east Suffolk, in possession of £3,000 worth of crack cocaine, heroin, a large amount of cash and three phones. 

One of the phones was linked to a drug line, named 'Craig', in Bedfordshire. 

Police established the boy had been living in a nearby crack house. 

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Detectives analysed the phone and found two numbers which had been contacted more than 500 times during the period he had been missing.

The numbers were proven to belong to Andall, 29, of Stonesdale, Luton, and Anderson, 29, of Acworth Crescent, Luton. 

Andall was later arrested in Ipswich in connection with supplying drugs. 

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DNA which was taken from Andall matched the forensics recovered on the drugs found on the teenage boy.

Following his arrest, another phone was found at his home. This contained messages to Anderson outlining drug activity between the pair.

It was found they were both involved in county lines activity, including offering and selling drugs in Lowestoft.

During the investigation, it was discovered the pair had been stopped by traffic officers during the search for the missing teenager, when Andall had given police a false name.

It is believed they were on their way back from Lowestoft after supplying the victim with drugs. 

Andall pleaded guilty to facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin, and possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin.

Anderson pleaded guilty to facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin.

Andall was sentenced to seven years behind bars for being concerned in the supply of heroin, while Anderson received six years and four months for the same offence.

The pair were also jailed for a further six years for exploitation and three years for being concerned in the supply of cocaine. Both are to be served concurrently.

Bedfordshire police has confirmed the teenage boy is now back with his family. 

Detective Constable Colin Knight, from Bedfordshire police’s boson guns and gangs team, said: “We were able to show Andall and Anderson were behind a county drugs line and maintained persistent contact with this teenage boy, sending him to another part of the country and exploiting him to sell drugs on their behalf.

"Drugs are a catalyst for many crime types, with organised crime groups often driving serious violence, exploitation, and anti-social behaviour in our community.

“This case shows that we are not here to criminalise young people, and we will instead go upstream to identify the exploiters.

“While this is a first for our force, we have many dedicated teams working to eradicate exploitation of all kinds and ensure drugs gangs that groom and exploit young people face justice for the crimes they commit.

“This case also highlights the link between the frequent missing episodes of young people and the exploitation they may be subject to.”