A DRUG user in debt to a supplier was persuaded to store amphetamines on the basis he could use some himself, a court was told.

Shane Nicholson, 32, also sold some of the amphetamines to friends and fellow drug users.

Durham Crown Court heard that his home in Sacriston, near Chester-le-Street, was searched by police on September 28, 2012.

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Officers recovered 1.256 kilograms of amphetamines, a smaller amount of cannabis and two mobile phones, while they also seized £144.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said examination of the phone messages revealed 22 texts relating to sales of small amounts of drugs over the previous two to three months.

In interview Nicholson said he was “told” to store amphetamines by someone with whom he had a drug debt of up to £600.

Mr Faulks told the court: “He said he was told he must either store them, have the debt cancelled and receive free drugs or he would be beaten up and still forced to store them.

“What police found was two large amounts of amphetamines which were the remains of a larger stash he was effectively warehousing.

“The rest of the amphetamines and the cannabis was his, and later, following analysis of the phone messages, he accepted supplying some to friends.”

Nicholson, of Viola Crescent, admitted possession of amphetamines with intent to supply and simple possession of cannabis.

James Kemp, mitigating, said the recovered amphetamines was of low purity and, in dry weight, would have been nearer 1kg.

Recorder Robert Adams imposed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months supervision, during which he must undergo 150-hours’ unpaid work.

He also ordered forfeiture of the £144 seized by police.