A DRIVER was picked up on the motorway with 95 wraps of cannabis in the boot – that he’d stolen from his erstwhile friend in an effort to recoup a £750 debt.

Tunbridge Wells man Ali Hussain was on his way home from Newport when he was pulled over at Junction 15 of the M4, because his car was flagged on the police computer as uninsured.

He may never have been stopped. The 31-year-old’s lawyer said his client’s VW Polo had been insured hours earlier, but the police records were not up to date.

Prosecutor Pauline Lambert told Swindon Magistrates' Court police had pulled the car over at Junction 15 at around 3.45am on December 20 last year.

When they got out of their patrol car, officers noticed a strong smell of cannabis coming from the Polo.

They tested driver Hussain for drugs, but the tongue wipe came back negative.

The source of the cannabis smell was a River Island bag stashed in the boot. Inside it were 95 individually-wrapped deal bags of the class B drug. Hussain told officers: “I stole the drugs from a guy that owed me money. I smashed the window and I stole it.”

Hussain, 31, of Sherwood Road, Tunbridge Wells, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis.

Andrew Watts-Jones, defending, said of his client: “He’s too honest, frankly, for his own good.”

The lawyer said his client was an Iranian Kurd, who had come to the UK as a political refugee and had since become a British citizen.

He had lent a Kurdish friend £750 after the man told him a sob story about family difficulties.

That turned out to be a fabrication. The man to whom Hussain had lent money was a gambling addict. He had moved to Newport, south Wales, and was working as a drug dealer.

Hussain drove from Kent to south Wales with one goal. “His only concern was to try and recover his money,” Mr Watts-Jones said.

He found his erstwhile friend’s car and smashed a window as he thought there might be cash in the vehicle. He took the bag.

Mr Watts-Jones said his client was not a drug dealer and had no plans to sell the cannabis. He had a police caution on his record for possession of the class B drug, but that related to cannabis belonging to his friend found at Hussain’s house after he pointed out where it was to police.

“He took the law into his own hands and, bearing in mind the nature of his friend had it not been drugs he’d taken from the car, had it been money he probably never would have got in trouble,” his solicitor said.

“In a way it’s lucky for him he was stopped, because he’s essentially an honest chap and had he got home he may have done something on reflection a little more stupid than he did.”

He was fined £120 and ordered to pay £117 in costs and surcharge.