A FORMER oil worker from Renfrewshire who became a drugs courier after losing his job was today jailed for 40 months.

Ian Matthews, 37, of Paisley, was caught after handing over £200,000 worth of cocaine to 54-year-old co-accused Thomas Cairns in Tollcross, Glasgow, in July last year.

Police swooped and, when the cocaine was analysed, it was found to have a purity of 82 per cent.

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First offender Cairns, from Tollcross, was jailed for 43 months.

Both men admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

Judge Lord Burns told the pair: “You both pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug – cocaine – over one day.

"It was a substantial amount, with a high purity.”

The High Court in Glasgow heard that former offshore electrician Matthews got into debt and agreed to courier the drug.

Lord Burns told Matthews: “You acted as a courier to pay off debts. You knowingly participated. I am told you have the prospect of employment on your release from prison and it is all the more tragic you involved yourself in something of this magnitude.”

The judge then told Cairns that his involvement in the enterprise was greater than that of Matthews.

Paul Nelson, Cairns' defence counsel, told the court: “He became involved after he had no money to pay his rent or feed himself.”

Police saw Matthews drive up in an Audi car, stop and hand over a bag to Cairns, who was chatting on his phone.

Cairns was stopped outside his nearby flat minutes later. The cocaine was found wrapped in packages inside the bag.

Police seized a number of drug-related items from Cairns' home, including cash, scales and 'tick lists.'

Matthews was arrested later.

Defence counsel Jennifer Bain, representing Matthews, said her client “had no previous connection” to Cairns, nor any links to where the handover occurred.

Miss Bain added: “He was employed offshore from 2002 until 2017.

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“At the time, he was a recreational user of cocaine. He then lost his job at the downturn in the industry.

“His habit continued with no income to pay for it. His debt level spiralled out of control.

“He was asked to deliver a package and told he would receive a payment towards his debt.”