A MAN who tried to smuggle over £4,000 worth of drugs in food packets into Boomtown music festival has escaped a prison sentence.

Shaun Saunders was stopped on his way into the event at the Matterley Estate, near Alresford, on August 8, 2019, and 24 wraps of white powder were found in a Pringles tube.

The 23-year-old was arrested, and a thorough search of his suitcase was carried out, with more drugs found in Pot Noodle sachets.

Winchester Crown Court heard on Monday that the tree surgeon had drugs worth £4,275 in his luggage including 24 grammes of ketamine, 8.84 grammes of cocaine, 115 MDMA tablets and five grammes of magic mushrooms.

Alec Williams, prosecuting, said that the Saunders planned to sell the class A and B drugs to a close circle of friends who he attended the festival with, in exchange for free drugs from his dealer.

He added: “It is not a usual case of intent to supply, having said that it is, in terms of role, it is a significant role.

“There is a motivation for advantage, an advantage that he is getting free drugs.”

Defending Lucy Conroy said her client was “not the same 23 year old man that stupidly and naively” took drugs to the festival for his friends.

Her Honour Judge Jane Miller was told that Saunders started taking drugs after the medication for a health problem stopped which left him with a ketamine addiction.

Ms Conroy continued: “His life has taken a different turn; he has new responsibilities and motivation he didn’t have when he attended Boomtown festival.”

Saunders is now father to a 12-week-old son and has got himself clean of drugs, with Ms Conroy adding: “Becoming a father was perhaps the shock factor he needed to start veering where his life is going.”

In sentencing, Judge Miller said that Saunders, of Parklands Orchard, Whitminster, Gloucester, was swept up in the “party culture” when the offences occurred.

She said: “It is also right to say you have undergone a complete change. Your concern is for your partner and your son.”

Judge Miller handed Saunders a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years. He must also complete 250 hours of unpaid work and be subject to a curfew for four months, adding: “I hope you understand just how near you’ve come to going straight to prison.”