A drug user has been ordered to pay £400 in fines and costs after he was caught with heroin while on a suspended sentence.
Paul Barrett, formerly of Newton Abbot, put himself at risk of being sent to jail because he had two wraps of heroin during the currency of a 12 months suspended sentence for growing cannabis.
A judge at Exeter Crown Court decided to fine him rather than activate the sentence after hearing that Barrett is now working with the addiction service Rise to tackle his habit.
Barrett, formerly of Queen Street, Newton Abbot, but now living in Magdalene Road, Torquay, admitted personal possession of heroin and breach of a suspended sentence.
He was fined £250 with £150 costs by Recorder Mr John Williams at Exeter Crown Court and warned he would go to jail if he commits any further offences in which he remains subject to the suspended sentence.
He told him: ’Your sentence is still in existence until February 2018 and if you are found using or supplying drugs again, you are at risk of going to prison. That is the reality.
’I am told you have stopped spending money on heroin, so you will be quite a wealthy man and able to pay these fines.’
Mr Herc Ashworth, prosecuting, said Barrett was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years, in February 2016, for the cultivation of cannabis.
Police executed a warrant on January 19 this year at the home where he was living with his girlfriend and found two packages of heroin.
He told them he had a £50-a-week habit but bought £150 worth at a time to get a better rate. He said the £100 found by police was all for his own use.
He also said he did not realise personal possession of heroin was still illegal or that it put him in breach of the suspended sentence.
Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Barrett is now working with the Shrublands Centre in Torquay, where he has been assessed as suitable for treatment and will shortly be offered a script for a substitute drug.
In the previous case Barrett was caught growing cannabis after being attacked during a violent burglary at his former home in Newton Abbot.
Police noticed a bright light shining from his attic and found 78 young plants growing in a sophisticated set-up with lights, fans, and timers and a tub with traces of cannabis which may have come from a previous harvest.
Barrett told police he had been pressured into growing the drugs, which would have been worth at least £15,000 if they had grown to their full height.
He said he had been bullied into allowing the growing operation, which was not his own and from which he was not going to derive any profit.