A DRUGS gang boss suspected an alleged courier of being a 'grass' after two of his lieutenants were arrested with half a kilo of cocaine, a court heard.

Members of the Ashley James gang, already convicted of conspiracy to supply the class A drug in Worcester, suspected Robert Degaris, one of four alleged conspirators now standing trial, of being a police informant.

Degaris, Mohammed Nasar, Aaqib Nasar and Steven Binning all deny conspiracy to bring cocaine to Worcester at their ongoing trial at Worcester Crown Court.

John Butterfield QC, prosecuting, said today that Ashley James's suspicions were revealed through covert recordings after his Renault Kangoo van was bugged by police. The jury will listen to the recordings via wireless headphones and transcripts will also be made available.

Mr Butterfield said the recordings showed James's reaction to Chris Cornes and Marcus Henney being arrested with half a kilo of cocaine on May 13, 2015.

Police pulled the pair over in a Ford Focus at the junction of Deansway and Copenhagen Street in Worcester shortly after the prosecution say they met with Degaris in the car park of City Gym in Westbury Street. Degaris denies handing over the cocaine consignment to Cornes and Henney.

"It led to suspicions on behalf of Ashley James that someone had 'grassed' or 'bubbled' to police. Their suspicion was that the grass was Robert Degaris" said Mr Butterfield.

The prosecution case is that James's network bought cocaine in bulk from Mohammed Nasar's group to sell on the streets of Worcester.

Mr Butterfield said James gang members referred to their alleged supplier, Mohammed Nasar, by 'racist nicknames' which he acknowledged was 'a highly unattractive and unpalatable facet' of the case.

He said after the Cornes and Henney arrests, James's gang still had to pay for the cocaine police had seized and owed £20,000 to so-called 'puppet master' Mohammed Nasar.

Mr Butterfield added: "There was a sense of resentment that it still had to be paid in full and that Chris Cornes had got himself arrested."

Cornes was described as 'an idiot' in one of the recordings and the gang felt they should have received some of the money from the sale of Cornes's car, the court heard.

Recordings refer to rhyming slang for Scousers ('Mickey Mousers') which the prosecution say is reference to one of the James gang's cocaine supply lines, the other being local supplies from Mohammed Nasar.

The trial continues.