A DRUG dealer has been jailed after police found a stash of cocaine hidden in the footwell of a friend’s car.

Jamie Marchant, 26, of Eagle Way, Shoebury, admitted possessing 225 grams of cocaine with intent to supply when he appeared at Southend Crown Court on Thursday.

The class A drug was sent for testing and found to have a street value of £4,980.

The father-of-two claimed he was forced to sell the drugs to pay off a debt, and hadn’t collected cash from the drug users.

Simon Gladwell, prosecuting, said: “Due to his debt he agreed to take possession of the cocaine with a view to selling drugs, but not takemoney, as this was dealt with by another person.

“He said he had sold cocaine for this person before and completed ten deals in total.

“It’s effectively street dealing and was motivated by financial or other advantage.”

Marchant also admitted possessing 1.6grams of cannabis, worth £5, which he said was for personal use.

Police found the drugs after they pulled over a man speeding down Eagle Way, Shoebury, in his Mini Cooper.

Police followed him to Kingfisher Close, where Marchant got out of the passenger side and threw a plastic bag of drugs away.

Police searched the vehicle and found a safe full of cocaine.

Marchant had a previous conviction for possessing 24 ecstasy pills in 2005 and his last conviction was in 2008.

Matthew Bone, mitigating, said: “This is a man who has shown suitable and proper regret for his actions.

“He’s a man with a positive work ethic and is the sole provider for his partner and two children aged five and two.

“But he has an addictive quality to his personality and had problems with ecstasy, gambling and cocaine.”

Recorder Matthew Lowe sentenced Marchant to 32 months in prison with one month for possessing cannabis to run concurrently.

He said Marchant would serve half.

He said: “This offence is so serious a prison sentence must result.”

He was also ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.