A hospital patient about to undergo surgery has been found with heroin hidden in his sock.

Paul Hays was preparing for leg surgery at Freeman Hospital when a nurse discovered a packet of brown powder.

The 57-year-old still underwent the procedure, but the suspected heroin was seized and sent for analysis.

Hays, of Duddon Place, in Low Fell, Gateshead, was subsequently charged with possession of a Class A drug and pleaded guilty to the offense at a hearing at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Rehana Haque, prosecuting, said Hays, who has 93 recorded offenses, including four drug-related, was admitted to the Freeman in early May 2020.

She added: “The accused presented himself for emergency surgery.

“When the nurse was getting it ready, a packet of brown powder fell out of his sock. It was heroin.

“He was then dealt with in connection with this offense and the powder was field tested.”

The court heard that Hays’ last conviction was for assaulting a police officer in 2016.

Mark Harrison, attenuating, said Hays needed surgery for a blood clot in his leg and was hospitalized for a fortnight.

“He didn’t remember there was drugs in that sock,” Mr. Harrison continued.

“He couldn’t even bend down to put on and take off his socks.

“He pleaded guilty because the very last thing he wanted to do was for the nurses to come to court to testify because they saved his life and his leg.”

In issuing a fine of £ 100 on Hays and ordering him to pay £ 85 in costs and a victim fine surcharge of £ 32, District Judge Paul Currer said: ‘I accept what has been said and thank you for your guilty plea.