A DRUGS user tried to hide his stash of cocaine in a washing machine while his friend kept police at bay.
Anthony Hutchinson refused to open patio doors at his home in Chestnut Way, Seaham, while Francis Hudson hid the drugs, Durham Crown Court heard.
“Police arrived to execute a search warrant,” said Stuart Graham, prosecuting. “The delay in opening the doors was only shortand when officers entered the house, they found 18.5g of cocaine belonging to Hudson.
“A fingertip search of the property found no dealer’s list or other evidence of dealing.
Hudson, 36, of Watling Avenue, Seaham, admitted possession of a class A drug with intent to supply it on April 13, last year.
Hutchinson, 43, of Chestnut Way, Seaham, admitted obstructing police on the same date.
Both men have previous convictions for drugs offences.
Jamie Adams, defending Hudson, said in mitigation: “He has been a heavy cocaine user, but is now drugs free.
“His life went off the rails following the death of his mother and he has got through a substantial amount of money left to him by her and by his father.
“Mr Hudson was using his friend’s house to keep the drugs because he wanted to keep his drugs use away from his two sons.”
Chris Knox, defending Hutchinson, said his client foolishly thought he was doing his friend a favour.
The Recorder, Mr Graham Hyland QC, sentenced Hudson to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months, including nine months of supervision.
Hutchinson was given a 12-month conditional discharge.
The recorder told Hudson: “Cocaine has ruined your life, which has turned into something of a tragedy.
“You are now off the drugs and in other respects are a good parent.
“I can suspend the inevitable prison sentence, but do anything like this again and it will be custody.”
The drugs seized in the raid are confiscated and will be destroyed.
A hearing in July will determine if Hudson has any assets which can be seized as the proceeds of crime.