Letterbox drug dealer Roy Green asked a sheriff not to lock him up because he is afraid of dying in prison.
The 61-year-old – who is housebound and uses an oxygen tank to help him breathe – tried to persuade a sheriff to let him walk free from court on Wednesday.
But Sheriff William Wood has asked for a Scottish Prison Service assessment on whether they are able to cope with housing someone with Green’s medical needs.
He said: “I need to explore the custody option, because nothing else meaningful is available. I will call for a report to clarify Mr Green’s needs.
“I need to explore whether the Scottish Prison Service can accommodate Mr Green’s needs. It seems to me that only a custodial sentence is appropriate in this case.
“For someone in your situation, with your record, it is very difficult to see what other meaningful sentence can be imposed.”
Green will be sentenced next month.
Solicitor Billy Somerville, defending, told Perth Sheriff Court that Green had now been diagnosed with cancer on top of his other health problems.
“He basically doesn’t leave the house. He has oxygen in the house,” Mr Somerville said.
“He is fearful of the prospect of custody because it could mean dying in prison.”
Sheriff William Wood warned Green that the case may take time to reach a conclusion while prison chiefs assess their ability to house him in jail.
The court was told that Green, gasping heavily and severely hunched as he walked into the dock, had a number of serious ailments.
Solicitor Billy Somerville, defending, said: “He is not well. He suffers from numerous ailments. All of these make it extremely difficult for him to get around.
“He requires more oxygen than normal. He is on oxygen most days – that is what caused the delay in getting to court this morning.”
The court was told that in the latest case that Green was supplying heroin to his partner and had been caught with £660 worth during a raid on his Scone home.
The same court heard in a previous case that Green had been making £20,000 per year selling the drug without ever having to leave his home.
In that case he was jailed for 33 months in 2016 after he admitted making around £350 a week by pushing heroin out through his letterbox.
Depute fiscal Gavin Letford told the court: “He was dealing drugs through the letterbox and there were a number of customers at the door daily.”
Mr Somerville said: “He was using heroin to supplement his prescribed medication. I don’t know if the Scottish Prison Service will be able to accommodate him because of his health.”