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Ex-soldier offered pills to nightclub boss - before Army pal was caught with MDMA tablets

Daily Post 20/03/2019 Ashlie Blakey
a person in a suit and tie: Ryan Wilmott, left and inset, and David Richards © M.E.N/Facebook Ryan Wilmott, left and inset, and David Richards

Two ex-soldiers from North Wales ended up in court after one offered pills to a woman he didn't realise was the club manager before the other was caught with 25 MDMA tablets.

David Richards, 23, was followed into the toilets by the Manchester Warehouse Project boss after he approached her offering drugs.

He was seen chatting to pal Ryan Wilmott before the pair, who are from Wrexham , were searched.

Wilmott, 22, was found with 25 Class A MDMA pills which he claimed he was looking after for his mates.

The friends, who had amassed nearly 10 years armed forces service between them, were handed suspended sentences at Manchester Crown Court.

A judge told them he wasn't willing to 'turn their lives upside down' as they had served their county 'with distinction'.

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The court was earlier told Richards and Wilmott were at the venue on Store Street in Manchester city centre on September 22, 2017 with friends.

Staff conduct body and bag searches on entry, the court heard, and there are amnesty bins for people to dispose of drugs.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Evans said once the pair were inside, the general manager was approached by Richards, who 'asked whether she wanted to buy any pills'.

The woman declined before following him to the toilet, where he was seen talking to Wilmott.

The manager, who thought the pair may have been dealing drugs, called security.

"Staff found 25 and a half yellow tablets on Mr Wilmott," Ms Evans added.

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"He said they were ecstasy, they were found to be MDMA. Richards did not have any drugs in his possession."

In his basis of plea, Wilmott said he attended the event with 11 friends, all of whom were carrying MDMA.

He claimed he was looking after the pills for his mates and was not aware Richards had approached the manager and offered her drugs.

Wilmott's lawyer Iain Johnstone said his client had acted 'completely out of character'.

He said he was an 'excellent soldier' during his five-year stint in the Army and acted as a mentor for younger troops.

Estelle Parkhouse, defending Richards, said her client represented his country for four-and-a-half years.

"He does remember having the conversation with the manager, but does not recall that he made the offer. There had been alcohol consumed beforehand," she added.

Judge Martin Rudland sentenced Wilmott to a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years; 150 hours of unpaid work; and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Wilmott pleaded guilty to possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

Richards was handed the same sentence after he admitted being concerned in making an offer to supply a controlled drug.

Judge Rudland said Wilmott was concerned in the supply of drugs, while Richards was the 'scout'.

"Those who supply class A drugs come in many different shapes and sizes," he told the pair.

"There are those who supply on an organised basis and to sell large quantities of those drugs to make a career."

He Wilmott and Richards they were 'certainly not in this category' and that they were 'capable and intelligent men' who served 'with distinction'.

"The interest of the public does not demand that two young men like you should be deprived of your liberty immediately," the judge added.

"I am not going to turn your lives upside down. But this is after a lot of thought."

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