A grandad who had heroin worth £300 in a sock was stashing it for his dealer to pay off half a debt he owed him, a court heard.
Burnley Crown Court was told how addict Alan Cooper was found with 10 knotted bags of drugs, which were underweight street deals. He had no involvement in selling heroin.
Cooper was said to have stopped taking drugs but then started again after the death of his partner three years ago. His barrister told the hearing he was being exploited by his dealer and was acting under directions.
The defendant (50), of Pine Street, Nelson, admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply, in November, 2013. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail, suspended for two years, with supervision and a drugs rehabilitation requirement.
Prosecutor Mr Paul Brookwell said, in his basis of plea, the defendant said he had run up a £300 debt and was told he could discharge half of it if he took the heroin and stashed it.
He was seen in Reedyford Road, Nelson, on a mountain bike by police and was spoken to as he was acting suspiciously. He was searched and three plastic bags, containing 10 knotted bags of drugs were found. The knotted bags weighed 2.78 grams each and had a street value of about £300.
Mr Brookwell added: “No drugs-related messages were found on his mobile phone and there were no items in his home suggesting involvement in drugs supply.” The defendant had a lot of previous convictions, but nothing for drugs-related offences.
Miss Joanna Rodikis (defending) said the last time Cooper was imprisoned was in 1996 and his last conviction was in 1998. She continued: “He has, for a significant period of time in his life, managed to remain offence-free.”
The barrister said it appeared the defendant would benefit from support by the probation service. He had suffered from depression since the death of his partner three years ago.
Miss Rodikis added: “He had stopped taking drugs for about five years before his partner died but the loss of his partner had a significant effect and impact on him and he started to take drugs again.”