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Nick Speaks To Ex-Gang Boss Who Groomed Child Drug Mules
6 March 2018, 11:59 | Updated: 6 March 2018, 12:06
This former gang boss told Nick Ferrari of how he used to groom children to move drugs from town to town.
The gangs are based in some of Britain’s major cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool and exploit local children as drug mules “along county lines”.
Youngsters can go missing from home and school for weeks on end, dangerously carrying heroin and cocaine inside them into rural or coastal areas and smaller towns.
Matthew Norford told Nick that he used to run a gang, which used four children to carry drugs and weapons around the country.
But he changed his ways when his younger brother Gary died while Matthew was in prison for Intent to supply class A drugs.
Mr Norford now runs 1 Message, a youth mentoring programme which aims to help young people escape gang life.
He told Nick: "It's very easy to recruit these people if the child doesn't have anything or doesn't feel loved, if they're from a broken home. Everyone wants to feel a part of something.
"I used to look for single parent families, where the dad's not home, if they've not got the new trainers, if they're lonely.
"Then I would bring them under my wing and talk to them. They've seen me grow up, they knew who I am. They aspired to me what I wanted to be, which was at the top of my game.
"I let them chill with me, sit in my car. The girls see he's hanging with an older group. Then I give them a bit of weed to sell and give him £50 for the day. He's never had anything, so £50 seems like a lot.
"Then I might give them a chain to wear, or buy them some clothes.
"By 10 days, I'll give them some heroin to sell. I'll give them a phone which is going to ring, they just have to take this much and go and give it.
"You've got them selling drugs. You're a father figure to them."
LBC reporter Rachael Venables spoke exclusively to ‘Jane’ who was forced by a gang to carry drugs around London when she was 16.
"As well as holding the drugs for them we were disguising them to make them seem less suspicious. There were times when they'd ask me to hold onto the drugs and hide them under my clothing. There were also times where I myself did the exchange of the drugs for money.
"I couldn't really say no because of the way they beat the girls, and the way they'd beaten me, you know what's coming if you say no. So automatically I'd always say 'yes' to everything they wanted me to do, because I was afraid.
"And that was the foundation of the relationship - they make you so scared, to the point that you're useful to them in any way that they want you to be.
"It's almost like they test you, like alright, these girls are young - do their parents let them out late at night? Do they have a curfew? And when they understand that the parents of these kids don't care, that's perfect for them - because they won't get any attention from you being missing for so long.
"I'm so glad that I got out, before, I was killed because there were so many times where my life was put in danger. There were also many times when I was in danger of being raped. I was molested many times."