A TAXI driver who was caught transporting a haul of cocaine worth up to £200,000 on the streets has been spared a jail sentence.

Ibrahim Oguz was stopped by police driving his Mercedes Vito on the A1 in East Lothian as he returned to Edinburgh from London in the early hours of September 28, 2021.

After he was pulled over, he told officers: "The key opens the glovebox. I don't know what's in there. The glovebox might have been interfered with in London."

Police found a kilo block of high-purity cocaine in the glovebox which had the potential to realise £201,000 if it was adulterated and sold in street deals.

Oguz, of Duke Street, Edinburgh, told police during an interview that he was asked by a man to collect a bag in Edinburgh which he thought contained between £19,500 and £20,000 in cash.

READ MORETaxi driver caught with kilo of cocaine on A1

Advocate depute John Macpherson said: "He said he had been told to drive the bag to London and, as he did, he was provided an address, via his mobile phone, as to where to take it."

On arrival, he was met by unknown men who retrieved the bag and, after he went for a cigarette, he returned to the car and was told a package was in the glove box.

"He said he thought the package was something valuable, duly locked the glove box and drove back towards Edinburgh," said the prosecutor.

Oguz said that he was told to take the package back to the same area of Edinburgh where he previously collected the cash.

But the court heard that, on September 27, 2021, Police Scotland received intelligence that the Mercedes Vito driver had been involved in a transaction that would be a drugs offence and he was stopped on his return the following day.

Oguz admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine at an earlier court hearing.

Mr Macpherson told the court that Oguz was a Turkish male who was a self-employed taxi driver and had stated that he earned up to £1,000 a week through his employment.

A judge told him he had pleaded guilty to the serious offence of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs which would normally attract a jail sentence.

But judge John Morris KC imposed a community payback order on him with a two-year supervision order that he attend a mental health professional for such treatment as was considered appropriate.

He also ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.