An ex-Arsenal youth player has been caged after selling heroin and cocaine for a gang of dealers. Former Gooner Christian Toonga was jailed for two and a half years for his role in the crimes today.

The 19-year-old claimed he was pressured into working for the Custom House gang when he was arrested at a property in Sherborne, Wiltshire, last year.

He was part of so called “cuckooing” operation where gangs set up shop in the homes of vulnerable individuals.

The midfielder said he was approached while playing for League One side AFC Wimbledon and felt he had no choice to because he felt “threatened”, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

He helped to move gang members into the home of a woman who felt powerless to resist them.

Police raided the property in School View Close, Sherborne on 1 June 2016 where they arrested Toonga, the court heard.

He was caught with three wraps of cocaine, 29 wraps of heroin, £700 and mobile phones with text messages ‘demonstrating his considerable involvement.’

One message sent by Toonga read: “I will do the bagging up.”

Prosecutor Tom Edwards said Toonga was fully aware of the details of the operation, adding: “Clearly this is a case of cuckooing where a house is occupied.

“Certainly, he had a managing function within the chain, motivated by his financial gain.”

Toonga admitted to possessing with intent to supply class A drugs on 7 February, and he was also charged with failing to surrender to police after he was bailed.

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