A drug dealer claimed he thought 36 wraps of cocaine found in his car was actually a pain relief for toothache.

Andrew Taylor told officers, who discovered £1,850 of cocaine in his car, he believed it was benzocaine, an oral pain relief.

But the 40-year-old later ditched the claim and admitted he had been dealing the Class A drug in Wavertree, having travelled from his West Derby home.

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Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court, said police stopped Taylor on Gainsborough Road June 12 last year while he was driving a Lexus.

She said the car was insured in Taylor's name but there was no registered keeper, prompting the roadside stop.

Police believed Taylor to be acting "erratically" and upon search of the vehicle officers found 36 wraps of cocaine and two bags of £5 cannabis deals.

Ms Nemat said there was 17.95grams of cocaine, worth up to £1,850.

Two mobile phones were also discovered, one of which had no evidence of drug dealing and which Taylor claimed was his mother's.

Ms Nemat explained on the other were a number of messages linked to dealing, including an outgoing message which read: "Got nicked at one this morning, got out at five, all good like, do you want to work tonight".

Taylor has five previous convictions for 11 offences including possession of cannabis in 2009 and 2010.

In September 2020, after these offences, he was convicted of drug driving and ordered to adhere to a community order.

Charles Lander, defending, said: "It is depressing when a man aged 40 appears in the criminal dock bringing a bag, facing his first custodial sentence."

He said over the last week Taylor's dad had been hospitalised with diabetes and had to have his toe and part of his foot amputated, and had also been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Mr Lander asked the judge to consider that Taylor was "clearly working for someone".

He said Taylor, of Eaton Close, was addicted to drugs and had racked up a debt of £1,000.

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Mr Lander said Taylor had been a taxi driver but due to his drug addiction he had lost his licence and as a result hadn't been able to work.

The court heard he had also worked as an accountant for 14 years.

Taylor admitted possession with intent to supply cocaine and possession of cannabis.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, said: "It is quite apparent to this court that you're an intelligent man.

"You have worked for no less than 14 years as an accountant in responsible employment and ever since you left that employment it would appear you have been on a downward spiral."

The judge said the offence was so serious only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.

Taylor was jailed for 40 months reduced to 30 months to reflect his guilty plea.

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