A 34-year-old Dublin man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of heroin after he told a court that he started taking the drug so he could lose weight for football.

Darren Mason a drug addict from the north inner city pleaded guilty to the possession of €46,186 ($63,000) worth of heroin on June 21st 2009.

The court heard that the father of two who has been addicted to heroin since the age of 14 is currently undergoing drug treatment for his addiction.

Mason had been house-sitting in Coolock Dublin when the police discovered the drugs. After searching the house they also found €3,500 (4,800) in cash hidden under a cushion.

Speaking about the offender Garda Aoife Haverty described him as “a cog in the machine” and added he is at “the lowest rung in the ladder.”

Judge Patricia Ryan said there is exceptional circumstances in the case as the prosecution accepts that  Mason was unaware of the amount of drugs involved. She suspended the final four years of the term.