A drug addict has been spared jail after being caught hoarding a large stash of cannabis at his South Tyneside home for a dealer who threatened to kill his son.
Former HGV driver Leslie Allan, 63, was described as being stuck in the 1980s due to his long history of drug misuse and anti-social attitude towards illegal substances, a court was told.
But magistrates in South Tyneside heard it was a habit which led his dealer to send a henchman to his home in Regent Court, South Shields to make a threat to kill his 22-year-old son.
The divorced dad-of two had agreed to store the drugs in a spare bedroom in exchange for a steady supply of free cannabis.
But, the copurt heard, when the dealer reneged and stopped feeding his habit, Allen tried to call off the deal, leading to the threats.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting. said 4.8kg of cannabis was found, adding: “It was quite a substantial haul.
“He says that he’d been safe housing it because he’d been threatened by a gang using his flat for their means. He’s not the perpetrator. He’s the caretaker.”
A Probation Service report into Allan found he bought cannabis every day from the same dealer but that their deal to store the drugs had turned sour.
It led to the dealer sending an ‘employee’ to his home who told his son, who answered the door, he would be killed.
In response, Allan told the dealer he would continue to store his drugs even though he would not get any cannabis in return.
The court heard a small amount of cocaine and amphetamines also uncovered by police when they raided his house last June, were for Allan’s personal use.
Tracey Wood, defending, said Allan, who had undergone a triple bypass and had recently fought bowel cancer, knew that his next intake of drugs could kill him.
She said he had an attitude towards drugs that was stuck in the 1980s, adding: “People who supply drugs prey on people like Mr Allan.
“He’s foolish and has done this but he’s also been quite pressurised. He’s made these choices, wrongly so.
“He was very candid in police interview. Give him credit – he’s come here and hangs his head in shame. He’s got to have some support and direction.”
Allan pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class B cannabis, possessing Class A cocaine and Class B amphetamine.
David Randall, chairman of the bench, said Allan’s crimes were so serious that a custodial sentence was appropriate.
However, he suspended his 18-week jail sentence for 18 months to allow him to work with the Probation Service around is addiction.
Allan was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.