A HEREFORDSHIRE drug dealer who armed himself with a stolen shotgun, ammunition, stun gun and sword has been jailed for more than seven years.

Ryan Whittington's drug dealing escalated during the coronavirus pandemic, with Worcester Crown Court hearing how he was known as the man with drugs, and who could get drugs.

Prosecution barrister Timothy Sapwell told the court on Tuesday (July 20) how police found the Benelli 12-bore self loading shotgun after Whittington told mental health services about it. 

As a result, officers visited his Bartestree home in January 2021 to seize the shotgun, stolen from a house in Leicestershire during a burglary in 2018, before returning with a search warrant in February.

Then they found 21 38-calibre bullets, a sword, Taser and CS spray.

Messages were also found on two mobile phones which showed his lengthy spell as a drug dealer.


Between January 2019 and his arrest in February 2021, he was concerned in the supply of cocaine, cannabis and MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy.

He was also found in possession of 18 Diazepam tablets, a class C drug, with intent to supply.

The messages also showed Whittington, 34, had talked about lending the shotgun, which he held without a licence, to others, Mr Sapwell said.

He also talked about giving drugs to people if they worked for him, such as as a delivery driver, or cutting the drugs he bought wholesale with a bulking agent.

Whittington, a builder, had used drugs himself at parties and festivals, but he soon started to use them to cope with stress and to feel better after his grandfather died.

Whittington carried on running his grandfather’s business, defence barrister Edward Hetherington said, but he struggled with the grief and the stress of making the firm a success.

He said that was when the downturn started and, on top of relationship problems with his family, the "trajectory gained momentum".


Whittington, who was previously sent to prison for causing grievous bodily harm, was known as the man with drugs and the man who could get drugs, the court heard, and was "happy" to supply.

He said Whittington did not make "substantial profit", and no proceeds of crime application was being sought, and there were "significant gaps of time" between drug dealing exploits.

But from March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, his drug dealing escalated, but Mr Hetherington said Whittington was not a "day-to-day" dealer and supported himself financial with his business.

Recorder Rachel Brand said Whittington was willing to deal a variety of drugs, and knew he shouldn't have been in possession of the shotgun due to his earlier prison sentence.

She said the drug dealing went on over a "substantial" period of time, at least two years, but she understood it was not "every moment of every day".

But the weapons he possessed were lethal, she said, and were there for protection.

After pleading guilty to the 10 offences, Whittingham was sentenced to a total of seven years and 11 months in prison, and the drugs, paraphernalia, gun, ammunition and other weapons must be forfeited.