Man, 22, raped by his dealer as punishment for racking up £500 drug debt

A young man was raped by a drug dealer as punishment for his unpaid debt of less than £500.

The victim, aged 22, was sexually assaulted on an island controlled by violent gangs who are known to lure in young people.

Details on the horrific attack were shared at a hearing of the Parliament on the Isle of Man, where it was revealed that gangs from Liverpool and Merseyside present the largest threat to society on the island.

Tanya August-Hanson, a member of the Legislative Council, said: “Yes, a 22-year-old boy raped by a 30-year-old man for a debt of less than £500."

It is understood the 30-year-old man who carried out the assault was not charged as the victim refused to cooperate.

Chief Constable Gary Roberts from the Isle of Man Constabulary explained the violence was a result of the drug economy on the island sponsored by gangs from Merseyside.

He said: “The rape of the young man was typical of the situations which arise in relation to drug debts.

“These issues are not exclusive to certain estates on the island. Middle class families have experienced some of these issues.

"From a criminal perspective, they [the gangs from Merseyside] are very good at what they do. The model is similar but not identical to County Lines.

“The established gangs from Merseyside will use criminals on the Isle of Man to sell drugs for them."

The judge read out a heart-wrenching letter from parents whose life had been sent into turmoil by drug crime in their area.

It said: "The impact on parents is dreadful. Anxiety about the youngster and the difficulty in handling the related situations can split couples.

"Parents often withdraw thousands of pounds of their own savings to pay off a child’s debt.

"Teenagers end up lashing out at siblings and parents through the stress of their situation — in even the nicest of homes. This is not a problem isolated to 'poor' areas. It is a poison that flows throughout the Island."

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Mr Roberts, speaking to the ECHO earlier this week, said that cannabis was a particular problem on the island. He said: "Last year we seized around £42,000 worth of this cannabis from a 12-year-old boy."

Mr Roberts said criminals had managed to exploit some of the historic links between Merseyside and the Isle of Man.

"There are long standing, cultural links between both communities," he said. The criminals behind the drug trade have exploited some of these links to get drugs onto our island."

Mr Roberts said Merseyside's gangs were some of the most sophisticated in the UK and added: "They are the best in Britain at this game. I have been in policing for decades and I know that outside London, Merseyside was always the centre of the drug trade.

"But fortunately we work very closely with both Merseyside Police and the North West Regional Crime Unit and have their full support. The Isle of Man has always been a super safe place to live and we want to keep it that way."

The speech referred to in this story was read out on October 28, 2020 in the Tynwald Court.

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