A MAN swallowed £8,600 worth of cocaine to smuggle from London into Southend because he feared being caught by police who were out in force for the Olympics.

Stephen Barber, 23, swallowed 215 grams of the class A drug before travelling home from London, a court was told.

But it all proved fruitless as police discovered the 42 wraps of cocaine when they raided his home in Hampton Gardens, Southend, on July 10 last year after a tip-off.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply at Basildon Crown Court.

It was apparent to officers they had earlier been ingested, the court was told.

Lee Wilcox, mitigating, said: "He owed a drug debt for his own cocaine use and was told to go somewhere in London to collect the drugs and transport them back to Southend. He himself was not a street dealer he was just a courier.

"It was around the time of the Olympics and there was a high police presence in London so he was told to ingest the drugs.

“I accept that a custodial sentence is almost inevitable but he has no previous convictions and is just 23 years of age. This was a case of naivety on his part and he has no experience of these things.”

Police also discovered tickets for a flight from Amsterdam to Southend Airport.

Basildon Crown Court heard Barber had returned from a holiday in the Dutch capital just three days before the haul was discovered.

He was due to stand trial after being accused of importing cocaine on the Easyjet flight.

However, the case was discharged as there was no forensic evidence to support the claim.

Barber will return to Basildon Crown Court next month to be sentenced.
He was released on bail on the condition he sleeps at an address in Silverdale Avenue, Westcliff.

He must also remain indoors between 8.30pm and 4am, and report to Southend Police Station three times a week.

Addressing Barber, Judge Jonathan Black said : "You need to understand you face a custodial sentence for this matter and the way the possession of drugs with intent to supply was carried out."