A COURIER caught with three kilograms of drugs in his car was driven to it by 'austerity', a court heard.

Neil Spoor was stopped by police just before Scotch Corner in March last year and when they searched his vehicle they discovered two kilos of cocaine, a kilo of cannabis and a small amount of amphetamine.

The recovered drugs was estimated to have a street value of up to £200,000 Teesside Crown Court heard.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Spoor's role as a courier played a significant role in the drug dealing network by transporting such quantities of Class A and B drugs.

He said: "The street values are, given that the cocaine is particularly high purity of 84 per cent when the usual level of purity is nine per cent, this is particularly high purity cocaine.

"It would cost between £32,000 and £35,000 and has a street value of £160,000 to £200,000.

"The one kilo of cannabis would have cost £5,000 with a street value of £10,000 and the amphetamine had a value of £60."

Mr Dodds said analysis of Spoor's phone showed that he had a history of dealing the amphetamine and in 2010 he served 45 months for being involved in the supply of Class A drugs.

Spoor, of North Road, Consett, pleaded guilty to three charges of possession with intent supply cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine.

In mitigation, Anthony Davis said his client had been 'frank' with police from the outset and had turned up at court despite the 'current circumstances'.

"The age of austerity placed him in significant financial trouble, the debt recovered related to his accommodation and they are how he became involved in this one-off job," he said.

He added: "Spoor must be a 'trusted' man and this was a one off trip as far as he was concerned. This was borne out of the financial difficulties he faced."

Spoor, who had previous conviction for drugs offences and violence, was jailed for four years and four months for the cocaine offence and a two year concurrent sentence for the cannabis charge.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: "You have a large number of previous convictions but the last offence of any significance was ten years ago.

"This offence was a single offence where you were a courier of a significant amount of drugs as you had got yourself into some bad debt situation and felt tempted to get out of that by carrying drugs for somebody else."