Drug user spared jail after selling cocaine to friends

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A DRUG user who bought and sold cocaine among a small circle of friends has been spared jail.

Stuart Lawton would sell to two pals and in return they would supply the drug to him if needed.

The 40-year-old was collared when police raided his home and he tried to hide £1,280 of the class A drug in the garden.

At Newcastle Crown Court Lawton, of Deepdale Street, Houghton, admitted possession with intent to supply.

Prosecutor Stuart Graham told the court: “The defendant had been willing to give cocaine for reward of either money or cocaine to two other parties.

“In return he would, if he was short and wanted cocaine, he would get it back from them.”

The court heard Lawton has no previous convictions for drugs offences and police found no debtors lists or signs of high living.

Glen Gatland, defending, said Lawton has a history of mental health problems and used the drug to combat panic attacks.

Judge Sean Morris sentenced Lawton to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision.

The judge warned him: “Taking drugs does not help with mental health problems.

“Prescription drugs, maybe, this sort of rubbish, no.”