Man spotted by police while 'doing a drugs deal' in Hartlepool alleyway spared jail
A town centre heroin dealer who was working off a debt to a drugs gang was spared jail by a judge.
After his arrest last year Julian Knott, 56, who turned to heroin after health problems, checked himself into a private clinic to beat his addiction.
He had also paid off the heroin debt, his lawyer told Teesside Crown Court.
Two policemen spotted Knott, who served in the Merchant Navy, doing a drugs deal in a back alley off Lister Street, Hartlepool, on July 17 last year, said prosecutor Emma Atkinson.
He was with a woman, and when he was asked to stop he attempted to run away. He reached into his pocket and threw some items onto the ground - five small bags which turned out to contain heroin worth £370.
He also had a mobile phone which was found to contain drug messages, and £170 in cash.
Miss Atkinson said that when his home was searched police found a back pack containing weighing scales. He had previous convictions for possessing amphetamines and MDMA.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said that a month before Knott’s arrest his partner had contacted the Crisis Team because of a significant decline in his mental state after worries over his health and she asked if he could be admitted to hospital.
He dealt with the situation rather badly when he turned to heroin and he ran up debt to a drugs gang ending up selling heroin for them.
Mr Constantine added: “He hit rock-bottom, but then with the help of a lump sum he paid off the debt and he went on a residential course to relieve himself of heroin.
”He has been identified as somebody who could benefit from further intervention.”
Judge Deborah Sherwin told Knott: “Since you’re arrest you have done what you can to set matters right.”
Knott, of Colwyn Road, Hartlepool, was given a two-year jail sentence suspended for two years with 20 days rehabilitation requirements and a three month tagged night curfew after he pleaded guilty to supplying a Class A drug heroin.