A DIABETIC drug dealer completed just two hours of unpaid work in six months – because he said he needed access to a fridge.
David McNiece was given a community order and told he must carry out 75 hours of work by a judge last September after he admitted selling cannabis.
The 30-year-old told probation officials his diabetic condition meant he was unable to carry out his unpaid duties as he needed a cool place to store his medication.
Organisers then arranged work in a charity shop, where a fridge was available for him to use, but he still failed to turn up for his shifts.
He turned up for just the two-hour induction and completed no further work.
McNiece, of Malvern Road, Washington, was back at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday to be re-sentenced and faced an immediate jail term. But his barrister Jonathan Devlin told the court McNiece is now willing to work and added: “He could take a cool bag.”
Judge Penny Moreland gave McNiece a second chance to keep his freedom and deferred sentence for six months.
The judge said: “It has taken him until May the following year to work out his medication can be taken to placements in a cool bag.
“His anxiety to complete the order arises from the fact an immediate custodial sentence is likely at this stage.”
Judge Moreland said McNiece must complete the entire 75 hours of work before he comes back to court in November.
The judge added: “I can promise that if he doesn’t take this last chance, he will go to custody.”
The court heard McNiece works shifts for an agency and probation officials had tried to tailor his placement hours to fit around his paid employment.
Chris McKee, prosecuting, said: “The probation trust has made its best attempts to accommodate the defendant in light of his medical condition and paid employment.
“The defendant has relied on his diabetic condition, specifically lack of a fridge for his insulin, for failing to engage with his work placement.
“The trust arranged a charity shop placement with a fridge that is said by the defendant to be necessary and he, again, failed to attend.”
The court heard McNiece has been a type 1 diabetic since he was very young and needs four insulin injections per day.