Why a Hartlepool heroin offender was spared jail as judge takes 'exceptional' approach
A man who threw a large packet of drugs out of his bathroom window when police raided his home has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.
Alan Saint, 48, was arrested as part of an operation targeting drug abuse in Owton Manor, Hartlepool in May 2019, Teesside Crown Court heard.
He admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply in relation to 15.51 grams of the drug.
Prosecutor Paul Reid said it was capable of making 77 £10 street deals and worth £770 in total.
Police forced their entry into Saint’s home in Wynyard Mews just after 10am and found him in the bathroom.
Mr Reid said: “Officers formed the impression he had been standing on the toilet seat next to the bathroom window which was open.
"Asked if he had any drugs in his possession he said ‘no’ but had in fact thrown the bag of heroin out of the window and it was found underneath by police.”
The bag, which had Saint’s fingerprint on it, had enough heroin for 60 £10 street deals in it.
A smaller amount of the drug was found hidden inside his boxer shorts.
However, Saint was spared immediate prison after the court heard he had since taken positive steps to turn his life around.
His barrister Ian Mullarkey said at the time his client was badly addicted to heroin and was involved to fund his own habit.
Mr Mullarkey said: “He was effectively couriering about this quantity of drugs around on behalf of his dealer.
"The defendant is plainly remorseful for having engaged in this behaviour.”
Mr Mullarkey said Saint, of Owton Manor Lane, was now drug-free and had looked for a job, adding prison would set back all the progress he has made.
The judge, Recorder Chris Smith, told Saint: “It is on any view so serious that only imprisonment can be justified.”
But he said he was prepared to suspend it “by the narrowest of margins”.
Recorder Smith added: “You need to understand that drug dealers normally in my court go to prison.
"It’s only because of the work that you have yourself done in turning your life around, and you look today healthy, that I have taken this exceptional course.”
A two-year prison sentence was suspended for two years.