A MUM agreed to stash half a kilo of cocaine in her house for drug dealers after falling into debt.

Melanie Oakes, 37, admitted at Basildon Crown Court possessing a class A drug with intent to supply.

The court heard she was paid £200 a week to stash the drug in her understairs cupboard after losing her job and getting behind with bills.

She received a two-year prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. Oakes has now been moved out of Basildon for her own safety.

The court heard officers raided her home in Vange on September 25.

When they arrived, Oakes said: “I have done something very stupid”, and showed them to the cupboard with a safe inside that contained 634.67grams of cocaine.

The drug, which was about 25 per cent purity, had been divided into 23 bags, ready for dealers to pick up and sell.

Oakes was arrested and taken to a police station where she told officers she was paid £200 a week to keep the drug in her house.

Someone would drop off a drug batch and put it in the safe.

Then a dealer would come to the property every day and pick up packets of the drug to sell on the streets.

The court heard Oakes never had a key for the safe.

She told officers in interview that the worry of being caught was “making her ill”, her moral pride had been damaged and she did not want to do it any more.

The dealer who gave her the cocaine was jailed for 40 months, at a previous hearing.

Judge Ian Graham said cases involving class A drugs were “the highest category because they are the most dangerous drugs.

“When police carried out the raid you offered to immediately co-operate and are therefore entitled to maximum credit.”