A man has been jailed for two years after he told gardaí “off the record” that he had been put under pressure to hold €53,000 worth of drugs.

Laurence Christie (31) Church Grove, Aylesbury, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to being in possession of both cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at his home on December 22, 2017.

He has five previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Judge Martin Nolan acknowledged that Christie told gardaí “privately” that he was holding the drugs to pays off a debt after denying in interview that he used drugs or owed money to anyone.

He accepted he co-operated and said from the references handed in on his behalf Christie “seems to be a responsible family man”.

Judge Nolan said he couldn’t consider a non-custodial sentence. “He intentionally involved himself in this affair and what brought him to this situation is his own addiction problem,” he said.

Sergeant Darren Coller told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that Christie’s home was searched following a garda tip off.

A quantity of white powder, which Christie later confirmed was “a mixer” and just under 200g of cocaine in rock form, valued at €13,416, were found.

A further 2 kg of cannabis, valued at €39,914 was also found in the house, along with €795 in cash in his wallet.

In interview Christie told gardaí the money was a double social welfare payment that he had been saving for his two children for Christmas.

He claimed he was not in debt and said he was not under pressure to hold the drugs.

Sgt Coller agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending, that later while “off the record” Christie admitted that he had a cocaine addiction, that he had run up a debt and had been holding the drugs for a few days in an attempt to pay it off.

He said he was in fear and under threat.

Mr Colgan told Judge Nolan that his client is now drug free, which was confirmed in a probation report before the court.

He is also in full-time employment and has a supportive family and partner.

He is the father of two young children.