A MAN caught with £20,000 worth of cannabis claimed he was trying to help a dying friend out after he was pulled over by officers on the motorway.

A court heard that Stephen Ind was trying to a repay a friend who had welcomed him into his family and was now dying.

Southampton Crown Court heard that Hampshire police stopped Ind at junction two of the M27.

When pulled over he was found to have two kilogrammes of skunk in a Decathlon bag in the boot of his car.

The 34-year-old said he had picked up the drugs as a favour to a friend but when he was interviewed he gave no comment.

The court heard that the drugs were found vacuum sealed in the bag and had a street value of around £20,000.

Prosecuting, James Kellam said it was unclear as to Ind’s role. However, due to the high quantity found in his car he was “significant” in the operation.

The court was told that Ind was in a “desperate” position and he had been “naive” to agree to picking up the cargo.

Ind, of Highfield Avenue, Fareham, pleaded guilty to possessing a class B drug and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

Joanne Chester, mitigating, said Ind was not aware of what he was collecting and what repercussions it might have, adding: “When his friend became terminally ill he felt obliged to help him out as he had welcomed him in to his family and they had dinner together. He wanted to repay the kindness so agreed to collect a package from a location.”

She said that Ind continues to refuse to tell the authorities for whom he was picking up the drugs. Judge Christopher Parker QC said Ind had a significant role in the trafficking of the drugs to “other vulnerable people in the county”.CH