A DRUG addict caught with a box of drugs stolen in a chemist burglary has been ordered to get treatment to kick his habit.
Lee Normanton, 37, was found hiding in a garden with a carton of temazepam, Teesside Crown Court was told.
The drugs had been stolen earlier from Clayfields Pharmacy in Oxford Road, Hartlepool.
Normanton claimed the raiders, his brother Brian Normanton and Stephen Ross had called at his home late at night and asked him to pick up some of the haul which they had dropped during their getaway.
Yvonne Taylor, prosecuting, said: “There was a burglary and witnesses identified Brian Normanton and Stephen Ross.
“When police went to Mr Ross’s this defendant was seen walking away. He hid in a garden and had a box of diazepam.”
Judge Les Spittle said he did not believe Normanton’s account but accepted he was not involved in the burglary.
Normanton pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was given a community order with 18 months probation.
He was also given six months drug treatment after his lawyer Richard Herrmann said despite being “riddled with addiction” he had never been offered any help before.
Brian Normanton, 32, of Stockton Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for 14 months after he earlier admitted burglary.
Stephen Ross, 43, of Stockton Road, also pleaded guilty to burglary, but died last month.
His death is being examined by Hartlepool’s coroner.
Mr Herrman, mitigating, for Lee Normanton, of Worcester Gardens, Hartlepool, said: “He accepted that although he was not involved in the burglary he would have shared in the spoils.
“There was not any plan to sell the drugs for profit.”
Judge Les Spittle said: “Your underlying problem is addiction. I think that needs to be addressed.
“It may be a forlorn hope, but I will give you a chance.
“If you mess up you will go to prison.”