A MAN who checked into a South Tyneside hospital with a stomach full of concealed drugs has had his sentence put back to next year.
Paul Richardson had to have an operation to remove 11 packets of drugs after they were discovered by an X-ray taken during his visit to South Tyneside District Hospital in June.
Hospital staff called police after the haul of 72 tablets and 1.98 grams of painkiller Buprenorphine, a Class C drug, were found.
The 26-year-old admitted a charge of possessing a Class C drug at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.
He was back at court yesterday for sentencing.
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “This is a case of possession of a drug, though not an entirely straightforward one, and a guilty plea has been entered.”
Claire Irving, prosecuting, said at the previous hearing: “The defendant was at the hospital with intestinal pain and an X-ray showed he had bags in his bowel.
“On closer inspection, there were 11 bags and the contents were sent for forensic tests.
“He said they were for his own use, and he wouldn’t say where he got them from.”
“It is unusual that he would have swallowed them in bags if they were for his own use, but there is nothing to say that he was dealing drugs.”
Magistrates decided to defer the sentence until January 13 to see how Richardson co-operates with a community order imposed at Sunderland Magistrates for a separate matter.
Richardson, of Elstree Square, Sunderland, was granted unconditional bail until that date.