A TEENAGER caught with MDMA pills at Victorious Festival has been warned he could have been among the ‘annual tragic story’ of drug deaths at gigs.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Harvey Ray was 17 when he and pals clubbed together to buy MDMA tablets last summer.
Their decision came just months after a teenager and young father died from taking pills at Mutiny Festival — now South Central — in May last year. Parents of Tommy Cowan, 20, and Georgia Jones, 18, have warned against taking ecstasy.
In the wake of the deaths Victorious Festival bosses said they were beefing up security measures for their own three-day festival.
The court heard when Ray and his pals ran out he was the only one ‘with the confidence to approach strangers’ asking if they were selling drugs during the second day of the Southsea festival on August 25 last year.
‘Eventually he found a member of the public who was selling MDMA, that’s when he bought the drugs and was immediately approached by security,’ a probation officer told the court.
‘He believes he was being watched or a friend “stitched him up”, those were his words.’
After the hearing, organiser James Ralls said: ‘We’re strict with drugs — we don’t tolerate it. If you get caught you’re taken out and barred. The system worked.’
Unemployed Ray, now 18, was ‘off the rails’ after his father’s death by suicide last year, the court heard.
Addressing Ray, judge David Melville QC said: ‘People die from taking ecstasy pills. No-one can tell who is going to but people do.
‘It’s an annual story — a tragic story — where people go to a concert or festival and die.
‘It’s a tragedy, it’s completely avoidable and you must not get involved in it.’
Ray, branded immature by probation, was handed a 12-month community order with 10 days of rehabilitation activities and 24 hours at a senior attendance centre.
Ray, of All Saints Road, Buckland, admitted possession with intent to supply over the incident.
He had started taking MDMA in the lead up to the festival, and was stopped in the street by police on May 7 where officers found drugs on him and at his home.
Spotted on a mountain bike he tried to escape from police down an alleyway but they caught up with him.
Officers found an iPhone, £128 of cash and plastic snap bags used to store drugs. Officers found six wraps of cocaine and one of cannabis.
At his home police found a Kinder Egg plastic insert stuffed with two cocaine wraps.
Analysis of his phone found messages linking him to cannabis dealing ‘under direction’ by other people. Ray admitted he got involved through someone his father knew but was not being forced.
Ray admitted possession of cannabis, a class B drug, possession of cocaine, a class A drug, and possession with intent to supply cannabis.
He no longer associates with the friends he went to Victorious Festival with — and is trying to get a night-time factory job.
Ray, who has no previous convictions, must pay a £20 victim surcharge.