THREE members of a Mold drugs gang were sent to jail after they admitted selling cannabis to schoolchildren.

Appearing together at Mold Crown Court for sentencing, Rhys Davies, 20, James Roberts, 19, and Kevin Willetts, 18, were told by Judge Niclas Parry that they “deliberately targeted children” after they were caught dealing drugs just 30 seconds walk from a youth club.

The court heard Karl Scholz, prosecuting, describe how a youth worker had contacted police officers after he had seen two males dealing drugs close to the Ambrose Lloyd Centre in Mold.

In November 28 last year, officers approached a silver Astra car parked near the centre and found Davies sitting in the driver’s seat and Roberts sitting in the back.

Officers could smell cannabis and a rucksack on the front passenger seat was found to contain 37 wraps of the drug along with plastic bags, scales and sheets of paper with drug dealers’ details written on. In total £730 worth of cannabis was discovered.

Willetts, who was described as “the leading man in the operation” returned to the vehicle whereupon officers found a wallet containing £700 in cash.

In interview, Willetts, of Cae’r Odyn, Eryrys, near Mold, told officers that he smoked seven grams of cannabis a day which was costing him £30 daily and the drugs were for his own personal use.

He claimed that £300 of the cash was his mother’s and the rest belonged to his sister.

Officers seized the gang’s mobile phones and Mr Scholz said there was “no attempt to conceal” their activity with full names being used and texts outlining how Roberts should “chase up” payments for Willetts.

When confronted with the evidence, Roberts, of Charles Street, Mold, said the men has been in the car park “chilling” and denied that they were drug dealing.

He said he was collecting debts for his friend as a favour and he never suspected that he was a drug dealer.

One message sent via WhatsApp during half term in November read “School kids finished, just waiting on calls.”

Davies, of Broncoed Park, Mold, who was the registered driver of the silver Astra, said he had driven to the car park after Willetts had offered him £5 in petrol money and “didn’t know why they were there”.

Mr Scholz went on to describe that after the gang were bailed, Willetts continued to deal drugs and when police officers raided his address they found further bags of cannabis worth £1,950.

Willetts had even used his bail sheet to write the names and details of other dealers on and told officers he didn’t think they would come back and search his property while he was on bail.

He told officers that he would sit in the car park between 2pm and 7pm and wait for people to call him whereupon he would supply them £10 and £20 bags of cannabis. He estimated he made around £250 per week profit.

Defending Davies, Philip Clemo, said his client was at the “bottom of the chain” and lived with his parents rather than enjoy “an extravagant lifestyle”.

He added that Davies now had a job fitting windows with Everest and had reduced his consumption of cannabis.

Robin Boag, defending, said Roberts worked in the Mold branch of Subway and read a glowing reference from the store’s manager.

He said that Roberts was “left to collect money when Willetts was out of the country” and although he had told his probation officer that his offences were not serious because “cannabis should be legalised” he had since changed his mind.

Brian Treadwell, defending Willetts said the operation showed “little sophistication” and there was “no attempt to cover tracks” by the gang.

He described the 18-year-old as “immature and naive” and said that if he was sent to prison he would come into contact with “more sophisticated criminals”.

Sentencing Willetts to two years imprisonment, for two charges of conspiracy to deal drugs, Judge Parry said: “It is a fear of modern day parents that their children turn to drugs and you targeted children deliberately because they are naive and gullible.

“You were the main player in this conspiracy and when you were on bail you did the same thing again.”

Roberts was sentenced to 10 months for the same charge with Davies receiving eight months.

In addition Roberts received a 12 month conditional discharge from North East Wales Magistrates Court for possession of cannabis relating to an offence on July 7 in Hawarden.