A FORMER addict who selfmedicated with illegal drugs has been jailed for eight months.

Matthew Wiles, 43, of Victoria Road, Southend, was found by police with a stash of amphetamines and cannabis, as well as a CS gas canister, which he carried in case of attack by violent drug dealers.

Basildon Crown Court heard he received a suspended sentence just four months earlier for possessing drugs with intent to supply.

Wiles used to take amphetamines every morning before he got up and smoked cannabis at night to help him sleep after being diagnosed with the lung disease chronic emphysema in 2011.

The court heard he previously battled a serious addiction, spending £30 a day on heroin.

Wiles, whose partner gave birth to a baby boy just two weeks ago, had a long list of past convictions for shoplifting, theft, burglary and drug dealing.

Chris Whitcombe, mitigating, said: “This isaman who has overcome his drug addiction in the past few years. There is a clear reason behind his recent use.

“He finds it extremely difficult to get up because of his breathing problems and began self-medicating.

The reason he didn’t go down the conventional treatment route was a family history of the same disease.’’ The court heardWiles was now undergoing treatment for emphysema at Southend Hospital, and was set to have a CT scan on his lungs later this month.

Recorder Humfrey Malins activated Wiles’ three month suspended sentence after he admitted possessing classBdrugs and a weapon on Tuesday, January 14.

Wiles was also jailed for a further five months for the latest offences.

Recorder Malins said: “You have a long record of offending because of a drug issue which seems to have come along some 12 years ago. Things have got very badly out of hand in the past two years.

“I have listened very carefully to what was said on your behalf.

It’s because of what I have heard about you that your sentence isn’t longer.’’