'Naive' Sunderland dad caught with Â£19,000 haul of amphetamine
A 'naive' dad who stored drugs at his family home to pay off a debt has kept his freedom.
Police found two blocks of amphetamine, worth up to £19,000 if sold on the streets, when they raided Alan Barwick's house at Athol Street, Sunderland, in March.
The 37-year-old dad confessed to the officers he was looking after the haul on behalf of someone else.
At Newcastle Crown Court Barwick pleaded guilty to possessing a class b drug with intent on the basis he was "warehousing" to pay off a drug debt.
Prosecutor Paul Rowland said: "He owed £2,500 to a dealer and thought it would clear the debt.
"He thought it was dope."
Judge Sarah Mallett sentenced Barwick to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work and a four month night time curfew.
The judge told him: "I don't know for certain whether you really appreciated how much this could cost you in the long term and how much it could cost your family.
"You took that risk and you acknowledge you knew you had done wrong."
The judge said the suspended prison term was a "truly exceptional" course she was willing to take in Barwick's particular circumstances.
Stuart Graham, defending, said Barwick had been to the Citizen's Advice Bureau and even spoken to his MP about his family's debts in the past.
Mr Graham said Barwick was told he would be looking after the drugs for around a week.
Mr Graham added: "He has been using cannabis for some considerable time, which is one of the reasons he got into a lot of debt.
"He has been, to a degree, naive.
"He has not thought this through."