A Royal Mail worker caught driving around Belfast selling cocaine was “a delivery man in many different senses”, a court has heard.
Brian Park received a six-month suspended prison term for having £2,000 worth of high-purity class A drugs in his car.
The 39-year-old, of Antrim Road in the city, was also handed a two-year motoring ban for driving when unfit through drink or drugs.
Police were alerted to an Audi car travelling erratically through Belfast on November 3 last year.
A prosecution lawyer said officers located the vehicle parked in the city centre, with only Park inside.
“He appeared nervous and was acting in a strange manner,” she told Belfast Magistrates’ Court.
Cocaine with an 87% purity and valued at £2,000 was recovered from the car, along with £400 in cash.
Police also seized small plastic deal bags and a set of weighing scales.
Following his arrest Park admitted the white powder was cocaine.
Blood tests showed a high concentration of the drug in his system.
He said he had been driving the car, selling cocaine and that the cash was the proceeds of those sales, the court heard.
Noting Park’s employment with Royal Mail, District Judge Joe Rice commented: “He’s a delivery man in many different senses.”
But amid concerns over the alleged dealing, police confirmed there was no evidence he had been selling to random members of the public.
Defence counsel Stephen Toal argued Park had bought the cocaine in bulk and was only sharing it with others close to him.
“He was delivering that to his friends,” the barrister said.
According to Mr Toal his client amassed a £6,000 debt after his own drug habit spiraled out of control.
“He’s been orally told it’s likely he will keep his job (although) there’s no guarantee,” he added.
Mr Rice held that the drugs offences passed the custody threshold.
But acknowledging Park’s lack of any relevant previous convictions, he decided to suspend the six-month jail sentence for two years.
The judge confirmed that the driving ban will also also last for two years.