A FORMER rugby player with an out-of-control cocaine addiction was planning a fishing trip with his dealer when he was found in a house with nearly £100,000 worth of the drug, a court heard.

Charles Keenan, 40, of Elderton Close, Westcliff, is alleged to have brought a 1kg block of the class A powder into an address in Innes Close, Wickford, on February 26 last year.

Moments later it was raided by police, who found dealer Sam Claxton wearing latex gloves and a black t-shirt covered in cocaine, in the process of cutting up another 1kg block for re-sale.

Basildon Crown Court heard Keenan moved to Essex and started up a property business after playing rugby in Scotland.

Detailing his slide into addiction, the father-of-three said tensions surfaced in his marriage after he gave up a paid job playing for Southend Rugby Club.

He said: “I was unfortunate enough to watch my former teammates from Scotland competing in the World Cup.

“I ended up in a pub in England watching it on the TV.”

Later, as the pair rowed over the business and the children, he turned to drugs. His lowest point was an arrest for an alleged domestic incident, although he was never charged.

He said: “I was in a pub and someone offered it to me. I accepted and I enjoyed it. It made me feel nice.

“It gave me a buzz whereas at home I was getting told I wasn’t very good at my job and told I was useless and basically failing my family.”

As his habit spiralled, Keenan started using three grams a day “several times a week” and developed a friendship with Claxton.

He ended up owing thousands of pounds to the 34-year-old, who offered to let him off repayments if he looked after four ledgers and a drug dealing phone.

He said: “I woke up every morning and the first thing I did was a line of coke. I didn’t see it as a problem. I can’t really explain addiction to you.

“It was my focus and all day I was chasing it.”

Keenan told the court he would wait for messages to come through on the phone and then drive it round to Claxton’s home. He said Claxton would also dictate figures to be written down in the books.

Both the phone and the books were found in his car immediately following the raid. The court heard the phone also contained text messages to Keenan’s wife as well as photos of his children.

Asked why he did what Claxton told him he replied: “I have absolutely no idea what I was thinking.”

Keenan told the court he regularly went fishing with Claxton where “it was just drugs, loads of ‘em”.

He said on the night in question, he had visited the house owned by Claxton’s sister Nina Wall, who previously admitted allowing her premises to be used for supply of class A drugs , with a plan to go to a nearby lake.

He said police mistook a pair of wellington boots and a bottle of wine that he carried from his Audi to the house for the package of drugs.

Keenan told the court that when he saw the amount of drugs in the kitchen he became “uncomfortable” and decided to leave with six grams in his pocket, but was stopped when police burst in.

The court heard no fingerprints were found on either the cling film, brown tape of rubber used to wrap the drugs.

Keenan denies possession with intent to supply cocaine.

The trial continues.