A GRANDMOTHER who ran a “corner shop for heroin” said she hopes to work as a drug therapist to support people dependent on drugs after being spared jail.

Sharon Walsh, 62, was caught dealing heroin outside the window of her home in Darlington last summer.

Teesside Crown Court heard she was at home with her grandchild when she was arrested after police officers witnessed her give a man a wrap of heroin in exchange for £10.

But Walsh said she has since been drug free, has supported others to do the same and plans to become a drug counsellor to continue her work.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting said: “On 1st July last year the police observed a man approach the defendant’s window in Darlington and exchange something with her. She had taken money in exchange for a silver wrap of diamorphine, also known as heroin.”

She said Walsh was with her grandchild when police knocked on her door and went on to show them several more wraps of heroin, amounting to £180, hidden in a bin.

But the court heard 62-year-old who has “a long history of drug abuse” regrets the incident, has since been drug free and plans to become a drug worker or counsellor to help others.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: “You have a long history of drug problems which others got you into years ago.

"At the time the police arrest took place you were effectively running a corner shop for heroin, not for a financial profit but to fund your own habit.

“You have made conscious efforts to deal with your problem and you cannot continue with that if you went to prison. I am persuaded it is possible to suspended your prison sentence.”

Walsh, of Park Lane, Darlington, was handed a two year sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and to take part in 20 rehabilitation days.

She pleaded guilty to supplying a Class A drug and a charge of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.