Coke addict turned to living in his car

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A FAMILY man who lost everything after turning to drugs has been jailed for two years.

Michael Barker ended up living in his car after his addiction to cocaine took hold, Durham Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Kathryn Dodds told the court police raided 37-year-old Barker’s home in Leven Walk, Peterlee.

“In total, 37 grammes of cocaine, with a street value of about £2,000, were found,” said Ms Dodds.

“Some of it was in 1.6-gramme wraps in the house and some in the defendant’s car.

“There were also scales and grip seal bags.

“The cocaine had been adulterated with caffeine and was of average 34 per cent purity.”

Barker, now of Furness Close, Peterlee, admitted possessing a class A drug with intent to supply it on March 26 last year.

The court heard he pleaded guilty on the basis he was looking after the drugs for dealers to whom he owed money.

Stuart Graham, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Barker is now a broken man.

“He used to have a happy marriage and a good job as a data controller.

“When his marriage broke down, he turned to drugs as some people do.

“This put him on a downward spiral, and at one point he was reduced to living in his car.”

Mr Graham said Barker had been attacked three times by people he would not name, but was now drug free and hoped to “build bridges” to his six-year-old child.

Judge Peter Kelson jailed Barker for two years.

The judge told him: “You agreed to look after this poisonous drug, knowing it would be supplied to others and knowing the dreadful impact that would have on their lives.

“I have been urged to suspend the inevitable prison sentence, and viewing you in isolation, that is an attractive proposition.”

He added: “I accept it is unlikely you will trouble the courts again.

“But I have to sentence on wider principles.

“The sentence I pass must also deter others from getting involved in this type of criminal activity, which is so damaging.”