A DRUG user who has used illegal substances for up to 15 years told police he spent £100 a day on heroin as he suffers a debilitating health condition.
Michael Simon Thompson, 35, said he took the Class A drug to kill the pain of Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammatory disease of the intestines, and he had been injecting it for eight years.
Thompson made the claim when police raided his home in Hartlepool on December 30 last year with a court warrant to search for drugs.
He was at the property when it was raided by police who discovered a money bag in his sock which contained two smaller bags of powder.
Teesside Crown Court heard he told them: “It’s my gear, there’s about an eighth.”
Prosecutor Sharon Elves said the heroin was worth £423 and Thompson was originally charged with possession with intent to supply, which he denied.
She added: “He admitted possession, saying that he had a heroin habit which cost him about £100 a day, that he funded himself.
“He said he needed the drug because he was suffering from Crohn’s disease, and he suffered a lot of pain and had done so for the past eight years.”
The court heard Thompson has previous convictions for drugs offences, including possession with intent to supply crack cocaine in January 2001 and possession of heroin in October 2004.
He also has a conviction for breaching a drugs testing order by failing to stay for the whole session.
Robin Denny, mitigating, said Thompson was willing to undergo any treatment for his addiction and he had spent time in custody on remand.
He had a history of drug use going back 14 or 15 years and he had told a probation officer that he was accessing treatment for dealing with his problem.
A pre-sentence report recommended that he should be given assistance in the community and also a drug treatment programme.
Thompson, now of Midville Walk, Middlesbrough, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with supervision and a six-month drug rehabilitation programme after he pleaded guilty to possession of heroin.
Judge Peter Armstrong told him: “I am prepared to make the order that was suggested in your pre-sentence report.
“I think in the long term it will be of benefit to the community as well as you.
“The time has come, I think, that even for simple possession the courts will lose patience and lock people up.”