A GRANDAD who turned drug dealer to pay off mounting debts has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Officers found cocaine worth up to £9,200 when they raided William Ryan’s home.
A stash of cannabis, as well as £4,405 in cash, were also found at the 63-year-old’s home.
Ryan, of Toronto Road, Thorney Close, Sunderland, whose first conviction for a drugs offence was almost 40 years ago and who was jailed for 10 years in 1988 for conspiracy to supply, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and possession of the cannabis.
He initially claimed he had been storing the drug on behalf of someone else, but eventually confessed he had been dealing himself.
Joan Smith, defending, told Newcastle Crown Court: “He was in financial difficulty, in debt with credit cards, bank loans, also people who are not described as loan sharks but certainly people that wanted their money back.
“He was convinced by another that a short, sharp way of tackling his financial difficulties was to supply Class A drugs.
“He was not as high up the chain as the prosecution suggests.
“He had been dealing for six weeks. His intention was to stop as soon as the debts were cleared. The debts were over £10,000.”
The court heard Ryan has been carer to his wife, who is in ill health, and has health difficulties of his own.
Mr Recorder Eric Elliott told Ryan: “You made a conscious decision to involve yourself in drug sale.
“You do not need me to tell you how serious this matter is.
“At your age you must know the problems that are created when drugs are spread amongst the community.
“The public demands drugs dealers, and that is what you are, deserve punishment.”
Prosecutors are pursuing Ryan under the Proceeds of Crime Act, where any profit or assets he gained from dealing will be seized.
A hearing in relation to that is due to take place in September.