A MAN arrested after checking into hospital, having swallowed 11 packets of illegal drugs, has been jailed.
Paul Richardson, of Eden House Road, Sunderland, called at South Tyneside District Hospital’s accident and emergency department complaining of stomach pains, caused by the drugs he had concealed inside him.
An X-ray revealed he had 11 packages in his bowel, containing a total of 72 tablets.
Police were called, and the 26-year-old was arrested.
Forensic tests revealed the drugs to be the class C painkiller buprenorphine, a heroin replacement.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told South Shields Magistrates’ Court the offence happened on May 31 last year.
She said: “Richardson had been suffering from abdominal pains, and an X-ray found bags of drugs in his bowel.
“Following surgery, 11 bags were removed, and the contents were sent off for forensic examination.
“Richardson was arrested as a result and, during police interview, he said the drugs were for his own personal use.”
Richardson had pleaded guilty to possessing class C drugs at an earlier hearing.
His sentence was deferred until yesterday to see how well he co-operated with a 12-month community order imposed by Sunderland magistrates last July for shoplifting.
The court was told that he had not committed any further offences but had failed to “engage” with the community order.
Magistrates were told he was “unmotivated”, with his own defence solicitor saying that he would prefer a spell behind bars.
A probation service statement to the court revealed that Richardson had attended only three out of seven appointments and had already breached it twice.
Ian Haq, defending, said: “Richardson invites you to sentence him to custody as he has low motivation to comply with the order.
“He wants to draw a line under the matter and start with a clean slate. He doesn’t believe he will comply with the order.”
Mr Haq urged magistrates to take into consideration the relatively low level of offending when imposing a prison sentence.
Magistrates’ chairman Harry Metcalfe sentenced Richardson to four weeks in prison.