South Shields doorman jailed after being 'pressured' into dealing cocaine when he seized drugs from customers
A former doorman claimed he was forced to sell cocaine after he seized drugs from customers and was then told that meant he owed money to dealers.
Lee Honeyman said he was working at a bar in South Shields when he confiscated drugs from a group of people and was then pressurised to sell cocaine to pay back what he owed for them.
Newcastle Crown Court heard he was collared when police found 13 plastic bags of the class A drug in a car they seized from him in September 2018.
Less than a week later police found a kinder egg containing 11 small bags of cocaine in a car he abandoned at the Tyne Tunnel toll both when he saw officers approach.
The total value of the cocaine that was seized was £960.
The court heard when his iPhone was examined, police found messages "indicative of the supply of class A drugs at street level".
Honeyman, 36, of Penham Place, North Shields, North Tyneside, admitted two charges of possessing cocaine with intent and one of possessing an extendable baton that was found in the glove compartment of the first car that was seized.
Mr Recorder David Gordon sentenced him to a total of three years behind bars.
The judge told him: "You said you were a doorman in South Shields and you claim to have caught a group of people with drugs in a bar you were working in and confiscated the drugs from them.
"Thereafter, drug dealers alleged you owed them money for the drugs you had seized and started to put pressure on you.
"It was in that context you became involved in this illicit and illegal trade in cocaine on their behalf.
"Clearly you did take part in the supply chain in relation to these class A drugs.
"Maybe that is how you became involved but at no stage did you go to the police for assistance, which is something you might have done.
"You say you were threatened yet you didn't seek any help and simply went along with their suggestion that you pay off your debt to them by trading these horrible drugs on the street of North East England."
The court heard Honeyman had a troubled childhood and is carer for his partner who has health problems.