A FATHER-of-one who hid nearly €2,000 worth of cannabis in his bed frame had run up debts because of a 150pc hike in the price of the drug on the streets, a court heard.
Dylan Sheeran (21) agreed to store it when he could no longer afford to fund his own habit and was getting free cannabis in return.
Blanchardstown District Court heard he was forced to do so because the cost of the drug in Dublin had risen "exponentially".
Judge David McHugh said he will leave Sheeran without a conviction if a report from a restorative justice programme is positive and if he makes a €1,000 charity donation.
Sheeran pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis herb with intent to sell or supply at his home on December 3, 2013.
Sgt Mary Doherty told the court gardai searched the defendant's home under warrant. Sheeran made admissions at the scene and gardai found some of the cannabis beside his bed, with the rest inside the bed frame. Bagging equipment was also found.
The total value of the drugs was €1,982 and the accused had no previous convictions.
Sheeran was like a lot of young people who experimented with cannabis, his solicitor Simon Fleming said.
"However, he very quickly got into debt and was holding [the drugs] in lieu of getting his own cannabis for nothing, essentially," Mr Fleming explained.
He said the street value of cannabis had risen "exponentially" in recent years, by as much as 150pc.
This had led to a lot of people "doing things they wouldn't normally do to fund their habit".
"It's a slippery slope," Mr Fleming said of the accused's involvement. "One minute you are taking something yourself, the next you are holding it for somebody else."
The accused was a warehouse operative.
A drug dealing conviction could be "catastrophic" for him and he was prepared to make a charity donation.
Mr Fleming said he realised this might be a "step too far" for the court.
Judge McHugh said he was taking account of Sheeran's guilty plea and the fact that he had no previous convictions.
He also noted that Sheeran had expressed remorse for what he had done.
The judge said if the report was positive he would strike the charge out on the defendant making a €1,000 donation to the Blanchardstown Hospice.