A DRUGS courier has been jailed and will be deported after police stopped him with £20,000 worth of cocaine on the A30 near Okehampton.

Delir Visha had arrived in Britain illegally by crossing the English Channel in a small boat and was pressurised into drug dealing to repay his debt for the journey.

He was stopped between Whiddon Down and Sourton Cross as he headed towards Cornwall and had to be identified through fingerprints after giving a false name and claiming to be a Greek citizen.

Police discovered he had been sofa surfing at a house in Ilfracombe where they recovered more drugs hidden in one of his socks.

He also had three different driving licences, two in his own name which were issued in Albania and Germany, and one in the name of his alias Vasileos Alexandropolos, which was issued in Greece.

Visha, aged 26, of no fixed address, admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply, obstructing the police by giving a false name, and driving without a licence or insurance.

He was jailed for two years and three months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court and told that the sentence will lead to his deportation.

He told him: “You were worried that your family in Albania may be harmed and were under the pressure of being here as an illegal entrant and perhaps by a degree of exploitation.

“You had no influence on those above you in the chain of supply. It is quite clear that you expected significant financial advantage in the paying down or elimination of a business debt.”

Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said Visha was stopped in a silver Ford Fiesta on January 11 this year and police recovered a package from a pocket behind the driver’s seat.

They later found three driving licences and eight snap bags containing cocaine at the house where he had been staying in Ilfracombe.

The total weight of drugs was 273 grams with a street value in excess of £20,000 if sold in £80 deals or wholesale value of up to £7,000.

Miss Victoria Bastock, defending, said Visha had been drawn into drug dealing to pay off a “business debt”.

She said he came to Britain in the hope of earning money to send back to his family in Albania.

She said: “He made a very difficult journey to this country and felt he had very little choice given the debt he had accrued. His mother has health issues back in Albania and he described how his family is the most important thing for him.”