Heroin addict ‘must kick the habit or die,’ solicitor tells court

A person taking methadone, a heroin substitute given to addicts trying to quit the drug.
A person taking methadone, a heroin substitute given to addicts trying to quit the drug.
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A heroin addict must kick the habit or die, a city solicitor has warned.

Thirty-seven-year-old Stephen Potts has more than 100 convictions for theft and admitted four more shoplifting offences when he appeared before city magistrates.

Solicitor Susan Grey urged magistrates to go along with a probation service commendation that Potts, of Trafalgar Road, Sulgrave, Washington, should be made subject to a community order with a drug rehabilitation condition.

“We have dealt with Stephen Potts for many years,” she said.

“His offending is entirely driven by his drug habit – it is almost exclusively shop theft.”

Potts’ offending was not a risk to the public, she said.

“It is not violent, it is not driving while disqualified, there does not seem to be any problem with the police when he is arrested.”

Potts had recently sought help for his addiction and a drug rehabilitation order would give him support that could make a critical difference.

“He has had all sorts of disposals in the past,” said Mrs Grey. “He has been to prison on occasions, he has had conditional discharges, he has been involved with probation and community orders.

“He needs the support of people who can help him – he is going to die as a result of his addiction, it is as extreme as that. If he is given support now, it could see Mr Potts turn his life around healthwise, as well as offending-wise. He is asking for help – it is an extremely positive step that he has gone to look for help off his own bat.”

She added that sending him to prison was not a solution.

“The easiest thing in the world would be to send Mr Potts away for a period of time, but that period of time would not be a change for the better as far as he is concerned, “ said Mrs Grey.

Mrs Grey said that Potts knew what would happen if he did not co-operate with the order.

“I am asking you to give Mr Potts a chance in the full and certain knowledge that should he fail, he is going to prison,” she said.

Magistrates agreed to make Potts subject to a nine-month order with 40 hours of addiction treatment and ordered him to pay £168.47 compensation.