A MAN from London who hid drug money in his shoe has avoided jail.

Andre Etienne, 21, of New King's Road, admitted to being in possession of £410 in cash when he was arrested with Neil Dunn in Chard on December 13, 2016.

At a hearing at Taunton Crown Court on Thursday (October 11) prosecuting Nikki Coombe told the court Etienne had come down to Chard with Dunn on a day trip and was a passenger in Dunn's vehicle.

The court heard police officers spotted Dunn's car after known drug users were seen approaching Dunn's vehicle for drugs.

Officers located the car and detained Etienne and Dunn so they could search them.

Dunn was found to be in possession of more than 30 wraps containing Class A drugs and Etienne was found to be in possession of a telephone and £410 in cash which was stashed in the bottom of his shoe.

Etienne was also charged, jointly with the same co-defendant, of being in possession of a quantity of cocaine (class A) and a quantity of heroin (class A) with intent to supply it to another but the charges were dismissed at the hearing.

The court heard from probation officer Anna Kirby who said Etienne is planning on enrolling on a course to work for Network Rail and urged Judge Paul Cook to give Etienne a low level community order so he can start a course with Network Rail.

Defending Tony Nayager told the court Etienne came to Chard with Dunn as it was his day off as he was 'at a loose end' and said the defendant's suspicions first arose after he saw Dunn setting up drug deals.

The court heard Dunn then asked Etienne to hide some money that he had and under Dunn's directions he stashed the money in his shoe.

Etienne then became more suspicious after Dunn said his car had been spotted by police.

Mr Nayager told the court Etienne has put his life on hold since proceedings started in 2016 and said he is well respected by friends for his work in the community.

"He is a promising young man who is well respected and well loved," Mr Nayager said,

"He does not have a permanent role at the moment but has worked with his father doing deliveries for his company and has worked with children.

"He wants to to work for Network Rail in health and safety and track installation. It is hard but rewarding work.

"I have only met him twice but he strikes me as a pleasant young man."

When sentencing Etienne Judge Cook said: "The fact that you had the money in your shoe shows that you knew that it was criminal property.

"But you have been out of trouble for two years and are someone who has contributed to your local community."

Etienne was sentenced to 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 towards the prosecution costs and a £85 victim surcharge in three months.