A RECREATIONAL drug user who stored more than £15,000 worth of cocaine at his parent's home to protect his dealer has been jailed for two years.

Stacey Jerome, of Meadowcroft Road, Reading, was holding onto 177 grams of the Class A drug and officers found the substance wrapped in a sock in the bathroom.

The 37-year-old tested positive for being under the influence of cocaine when he was arrested on December 18, 2015, but he denied having any intention of supplying the drug.

Investigating officers found digital measuring scales and more than £1,600 in a bedroom, with enough cocaine to make nearly 300 deals.

Edward Hollingsworth, prosecuting at Reading Crown Court on Friday, September 1, explained: "Police executed a warrant and found a sock hidden in a hole in the wall behind where the boiler was kept in the first floor bathroom.

"They found 177 grams of cocaine at a wholesale value of £7,500 and a street value of more than £15,000.

"In interview he declined to answer all questions, but said he had taken them to protect his friend from a drug habit."

Ruth Becker, mitigating, said Jerome intended to destroy the drugs and was only holding onto them because he feared his dealer would kill himself by potentially overdosing.

She added: "There is no evidence to suggest he was a dealer in the usual sense of the word.

"He is devastated by the conviction and the stress it has caused his family."

Recorder John Bate-Williams concluded: "Hundreds of useful lives are ruined by drugs and those who deal drugs are a blight on society.

"You needed to consider the impact this would have on you and your family before agreeing to take the drugs.

"I only believe you are remorseful for being caught, rather than genuinely feeling bad about holding onto the drugs."

Jerome was handed a two year sentence for possession with intent to supply cocaine, with half of his sentence to be served on licence.

A forfeiture order was made for the drugs and digital scales, as well as the £1,600 found in the bedroom.