A MAN who was arrested after checking into hospital having swallowed 11 packets of illegal drugs has been jailed.
Paul Richardson called at South Tyneside District Hospital’s accident and emergency department last summer complaining of stomach pains – caused by the drugs he had concealed inside him.
An X-ray revealed he had 11 packages in his bowel, containing a total of 72 tablets.
Police were called by staff and he was arrested.
Forensic tests were later carried out and the drugs were found to be Class C painkillers Buprenorphine.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told South Shields Magistrates’ Court the offence happened on May 31 last year.
She said: “Richardson had been suffering from abdominal pains and an X-ray found bags of drugs in his bowel.
“After surgery, 11 bags were removed and the contents were sent off for forensic examination.
“Richardson was arrested as a result, and during police interview, he said the drugs were for his own personal use.
Richardson, 26, of Eden House Road, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to possessing Class C drugs at an earlier hearing in October.
His sentence was deferred until yesterday to see how he co-operated with a 12-month community order, which had been imposed by magistrates in Sunderland last July for a shop theft.
The court was told he has not committed any further offences but failed to “engage” with the community order.
Magistrates were told he was “unmotivated” – with his own defence solicitor said he would prefer a spell behind bars.
A probation service statement revealed Richardson had attended only three out of seven appointments and had already breached it twice.
Ian Haq, defending, said: “Mr Richardson invites you to sentence him to custody as he has low motivation to comply with the order.
“He wants to draw a line under the matter and start with a clean slate. He doesn’t believe he will comply with the order.”
Mr Haq urged magistrates to take into consideration the relatively low level of offending when imposing a prison sentence.
Magistrates chairman’s Harry Metcalfe said: “It is clear you will not comply with this order. The offence is so serious only custody is justified.”
Richardson was sentenced to four weeks in jail.