A TEENAGER caught with £500-worth of hard drugs in his sock claimed he’d picked them up on his way to meet girls at McDonald’s – as he thought it was all cannabis.

Wolverhampton teen Rayon Saunders, now 19, told jurors at Oxford Crown Court that he’d spotted what later turned out to be 50 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine in a plastic bag underneath a bench on Cornmarket Street.

The eagle-eyed youngster, then aged 16, saw the package when he stooped to do up his laces, he said. He claimed he’d picked it up thinking it was cannabis and would have shared it with the two friends with whom he was in Oxford.

Asked why he had put the drugs into his sock, Saunders replied: “Where else am I going to put it?” He clarified: “It was too big to put inside my pocket and a sock was safer when I’m walking.”

Saunders said he’d taken the train to Oxford from Wolverhampton on July 14, 2019, to see two girls he’d met on Snapchat. He planned to meet them at McDonald’s in Cornmarket Street.

PC Jordan McClay, a Thames Valley Police officer out patrolling the city centre in plain clothes, said his attention was drawn to Saunders and his friends as they were wearing heavy winter clothing. “I especially remember it being quite a hot day and their clothing was out of the ordinary.”

Having first spotted the men on George Street, the officers caught up with the group minutes later. The boys were sitting on a bench on Cornmarket Street ‘about 20 metres from the top of George Street’, Mr McClay told jurors.

McDonalds on Cornmarket Street, Oxford, where Saunders planned to meet girls hed spoken to on Snapchat Picture: OM

McDonald's on Cornmarket Street, Oxford, where Saunders planned to meet girls he'd spoken to on Snapchat Picture: OM

The group was taken to the police station and, during a search, Saunders was found to have 50 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine in a stash in his sock. Another wrap of drugs was found on him, although Mr McClay was unable to remember where and the defendant later suggested he may have been mistaken.

The teenager answered no comment to questions put to him. The drug wrappings were checked for fingerprints and Saunders’ prints were not found. Nothing linking him to drug dealing was found on his iPhone or at his home in Wolverhampton.

Giving evidence at his trial yesterday, Saunders stuck to his explanation that he thought the drugs were cannabis and he had not intended to supply them to others. Asked by his barrister if he was telling the truth, he replied: “Yes, I’m being 100 per cent truthful.”

Saunders, of no fixed address, denies possession with intent to supply class A drugs. The jury was told that he pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court in 2020 to similar offending.

The trial continues.