AN alleged drugs courier says he was dropping off a cash loan for a friend, not cocaine.

Steven Binning told a jury he was handing over a loan of £1,500 to taxi driver Saheed Iqbal.

The 35-year-old appeared in the witness box at Worcester Crown Court yesterday to deny any role in the alleged conspiracy to bring cocaine into the city between January 1, 2015 and December 8, 2016. He said he gave Iqbal a box containing the cash in Stourport Road, Kidderminster on November 13, 2015. Later that day Iqbal was arrested in Worcester with 1kg of cocaine worth around £100,000.

Binning said the cash was a loan to his friend Mohammed Nasar, dubbed the conspiracy's 'puppet master' by the prosecution, but Iqbal collected the money.

He got some of the money from his home and the rest from the till at his family convenience store in Kidderminster having been supplied with the registration of Iqbal's taxi beforehand.

Binning said he only met Iqbal when he handed over the box, describing him as 'Nasar's mate'. There was no agreed date by which Nasar was to return the money to Binning.

Binning, a married father-of-three, was asked by his barrister, Edward McKiernan, if he was part of a conspiracy to supply cocaine.

He said: "Not at all. I'm not a drug dealer. I would not be supplying no-one with drugs."

Binning, cross-examined by John Butterfield QC, said he only met one of his co-defendants, Robert Degaris, when the trial started.

Mr Butterfield asked Binning why he had tried to contact co-defendant Aaqib Nasar on the day of Iqbal's arrest. Binning said it was to agree details of the handover of the loan and it would have made life easier for him if Mohammed Nasar's son had collected the money from him instead of Iqbal.

Mr Butterfield said the phone contact was because they were both part of the same drugs network. Binning said: "I don't know no drugs network. I'm not involved in drugs. You've lost me."

Mr Butterfield said there was 'a dance of phones' on the day of Iqbal's arrest. Binning said contact was about the loan.

Yesterday also saw Aaqib Nasar in the witness box. At Nasar's home in Bath Road, Worcester, police found cocaine ranging between 83 per cent and 80 per cent purity and scales with traces of a cutting agent.

Mr Butterfield said this was to bulk out the drugs to maximise profits but Nasar said he sold the drugs as he got them. He said he made around £400 per week dealing to a small group of between 10 and 15 friends but denied he was part of a larger conspiracy.

Mr Butterfield said Nasar was engaged in a lucrative business with police seizing 5g of drugs worth over £4,900.

Mr Butterfield asked why Nasar had only submitted a defence statement on the day the trial began. He said: "It was so you could maximise your wriggle room." Mr Butterfield said it had been a deliberate strategy. "Like father like son" he said.

The trial continues.