A cannabis user who was found guilty of selling the drug to other people has avoided jail “by the skin of your teeth”.
That was how close a judge said 47-year-old Terrence Thompson came to being locked up after police caught him with 15 wraps of cannabis and some amphetamine when they raided his home.
Police got a warrant to search Thompson’s house and discovered his illegal drugs stash on December 22 last year.
Jenny Haigh, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “Drugs were found; some were in the kitchen and some, the amphetamine, was in the porch.
“A grip seal bag full of smaller bags were found hidden behind a bin in the mock-Tudor staircase.”
Thompson claimed he bought the cannabis in bulk and divided it into daily portions for his own use.
The prosecution said Thompson was spending around the same amount on drugs as the £70 in benefits he received a week and must have been selling some, if only to pay for his own habit.
Thompson accepted possession of cannabis and amphetamine, both Class B drugs, but denied more serious charges of having them with intent to supply to others.
The jury convicted him of possessing the cannabis with intent to supply, but Thompson was cleared of the same charge over the amphetamine, which was valued at £247.
Martin Scarborough, defending, said: “He had been using cannabis since he was 15 but fully accepts what he will be sentenced for and what the jury convicted him of. I would submit on the facts that have been produced this is very much at the lowest end of the supply chain.”
Mr Scarborough added that while Thompson has two previous convictions for drugs offences, the last dated back to 2003 and his overall offending had slowed down considerably in recent years.
He said Thompson had an offer of a job as a shop fitter and suspending the sentence would allow him to carry out unpaid work and allow him to put something back into the community.
Thompson, of Kendal Road, Hartlepool, was given to 12 months’ prison suspended for 12 months and 120 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Howard Crowson said: “You are someone who used both drugs. But you found it necessary because you could not possibly afford this habit, to sell some.
“Today, you have avoided (prison) by the skin of your teeth.”
The drugs were ordered to be forfeited and destroyed.