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Man visibly shaken by police presence in Portadown forecourt was hiding heroin

The district judge remarked: 'Possession of heroin is a very serious offence. Generally in my view anyone caught with heroin should go to prison'

A man who claims to have been drug free for the last eight months has been given a chance to show he can remain so in order to avoid spending the start of 2022 in custody.

The 46-year-old, who was found to have four tinfoil wraps of heroin after a search in July last year, reported he had not taken the drug since engaging with probation through another conviction.

Piotr Dragankiewicz, of Delaware Street in Belfast, pleaded guilty to possession of Class A, being in charge when unfit and no driving licence at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on July 18, of last year, police attention was drawn to a blue Peugeot, which was parked at Lavery’s filling station on Corcrain Road, Portadown.

The two male occupants appeared nervous regarding the police presence and the driver, who was identified as the defendant, was visibly shaking and sweating.

Officers conducted a search, during which three tin foil wraps of suspected heroin were located in defendant’s waistband.

A further wrap was found in the pocket of a jacket in the rear of the vehicle and the defendant was subsequently arrested.

Defence barrister David McKeown stated: “This is a man who up until a few years ago had a good work record…he suffered a personal tragedy, like many of us have, but he has found a foolish way of dealing with it.”

Mr McKeown revealed that his client was currently complying with a combination order which he had been sentenced to on a previous occasion, and was self reportedly eight months clean and determined to remain so.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “Possession of heroin is a very serious offence. Generally in my view anyone caught with heroin should go to prison.

“However, the presentence report states that you have been drug free for eight months, although that is not verified, and you have been engaging with probation.”

District Judge Kelly deferred sentencing until December 31, instructing Dragankiewicz to stay clear of drugs and not to come to the adverse attention of police.

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