A MAN who was found with more £5,000 of heroin with intent to supply it has been spared jail due to the progress he’s made in weaning himself off the drug he’s been addicted to since 1995.

Mark Steven Hoffman, 49, of Beaufort Road, Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply at his home address on January 25, 2019, on the basis he was selling a drug to fund his addiction.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing methadone and appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing.

Bournemouth Echo: Mark Hoffman

Prosecuting, Stuart Ellacott told the court police raided Hoffman’s house on January 25, 2019.

He said: “Hoffman was seen to stand up from the sofa and turned his back towards officers.

“Recovered from the sofa where he was sat was a white bag which contained 26.91g of heroin valued at £2,690.

“He was then taken upstairs to the bathroom for a strip search. He produced a packet from his underwear, he tried to dispose of it down the toilet. It contained 23.36g of heroin worth £2,340.

“Further searches within the property found in a wooden box in the kitchen two bottles which contained 268ml of methadone, that is count two.”

Mr Ellacott said there was a “burner phone” recovered from the property which had “limited” messages in relation to the supply of drugs.

Hoffman told police in interview the drugs were for personal use and he “bought in bulk”.

He later accepted he sold the drugs to fund his own heroin addiction.

The defendant had 41 convictions from 134 offences, but no previous matters involving the supply of drugs.

His first drug conviction was in 1997, the court heard, which was possession of heroin.

Mitigating, Robert Grey, asked the judge to “allow this man’s recovery to continue”.

He said the defendant had been drug free for 18 months despite being “addicted to heroin since 1995”.

The court heard he was a carer for his disabled partner and Mr Grey urged the judge to impose a suspended sentence.

Recorder Nicholas Haggan QC sentenced Hoffman to two years imprisonment for possessing heroin with the intent to supply, and three months for possession of methadone, to be served concurrently, suspended for two years.

He said: “You indicated you would sell to a circle of people who asked to buy drugs from you.

“I accept you have made a significant effort and having regard to your previous convictions, I also have regard you have stayed out of trouble before these offences for a long period of time.

“You have been a drug addict for a very long period of time and you have made a determined effort to wean yourself off.

“If you commit any further offence you will be brought before the court and the inevitable consequence is you will serve that time.

“I am giving you a chance, please take it.”

Hoffman was also ordered to forfeit the drugs, carry out 20 rehabilitation requirement days and undertake 200 hours unpaid work.