A MAN has escaped a prison sentence despite being found in possession of cocaine.
A police search found Daniel James Gunning with 13 grammes of the Class A drug, which magistrates heard was sufficient to lead to custody.
But the 22-year-old escaped with a suspended sentence after the court heard that he had made the purchase with money from a group of friends for them all to take at a Wigan Pier Nightclub reunion and he had no intention of dealing.
Gunning pleaded guilty to charges of possessing cannabis and possessing cocaine.
Prosecutor Sarah Perkins said that the drugs were found after police executed a warrant at his home in Bright Street, Leigh.
A man of previously good character, he told police during interview under caution that he had purchased the drugs to share with friends who had paid for him to buy it at a forthcoming reunion for clubbers.
Bill Pearson, defending, said that Gunning was a hard working man in full employment for a Wigan removal firm, who lived with his parents.
He argued that suspending a sentence would be the correct course for the court to follow because, although the amount of cocaine, could lead to a prison sentence, the circumstances behind the purchase made this an exception.
After reading a social inquiry report, District Judge Prowse sentenced Gunning to six months prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. The judge said that the case was one of social supply and there was no evidence that gunning intended dealing with the drug.