A HEROIN dealer caught by police carrying the deadly drug is behind bars.
Diligent cops stopped and searched Stuart Peterson when they saw him leaving a house in Hartlepool’s Oxford Road.
They discovered he had several hundreds pounds worth of heroin hidden on him that he planned to peddle to desperate addicts.
And when officers searched his home in Pinero Grove, in the Rift House area, they found £780 that was the proceeds of his drug dealing activities.
The 35-year-old was jailed for three years when he was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court.
He had previously pleaded guilty to possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and possessing criminal property over his ill-gotten gains.
Peterson also admitted possessing a class B drug of amphetamine which the court was told was for his personal use.
Police pounced on the afternoon of Saturday, November 7, when they found one wrap of heroin in Peterson’s jacket pocket.
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said: “When they got to Hartlepool custody suite he was strip searched and a bag was found secreted in an intimate place which contained 988 milligrams of amphetamine and also eight further wraps of what transpired to be heroin.
“The crown would suggest that the defendant played a significant role motivated by financial advantage and had some awareness of the scale of the operation.”
Police valued the heroin at between £600 to £700 but said it could be worth up to £1,000 if it was broken down even more to make smaller deals.
After he pleaded guilty, Peterson told probation officials he had been selling heroin for another dealer higher up the chain after he built up a £1,500 debt from his own heroin habit.
But the judge did not believe he was selling purely to pay off a drugs debt because of the amount of cash found at his address.
David Lamb, mitigating, said Peterson accepted he was going to jail but said he pleaded guilty early.
He added: “He presented to those higher up the chain as a vulnerable person, someone clearly heavily addicted to drugs and who could be easily exploited.
“He has shown a determination to address his addiction.”
Sentencing, Recorder Simon Jackson QC said: “I am not satisfied this dealing related to a drugs debt.
“This offence is so serious that only custody is appropriate. Possession of class A drugs with intent to supply is a very serious offence.”