A teenager from Watford has been cleared of being a drug dealer after a jury accepted his case that he was acting under duress.

Sharriff Dacres, now 19, was a passenger in a car stopped in Longspring, Watford, on August 30, 2012. When he was searched, he was found with a bag that contained drugs with a street value of £3,240, St Albans Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor James McLernon said there were 16 individual wraps of cocaine and 67 of heroin that were ready to be supplied along with scales and a razor blade, three mobile phones, three SIM cards and £152.04p in cash.

Mr Dacres of North Western Avenue, Watford, pleaded not guilty to possessing 21.788g of heroin with intent to supply and 28.06g of cocaine with intent to supply.

Giving evidence, Mr Dacres told the jury of five men and seven women that in 2012 he was living with friends before going to Herts Young Homeless and being housed in a hostel in Rickmansworth Road, Watford.

He said he was 16 when he started taking drugs. "The drugs were highly addictive," he said. In April 2011 he received a police warning for possessing heroin.

After a friend lost drugs belonging to a gang he said he and other friends were targeted by dealers and one was stabbed in the thigh.

On the day he was arrested he said he was walking in Watford when gang members drove up. He said he ran down an alley but was caught and was given a bag. He said he was told to look after it and wait for a call.

He was cleared by the jury after four hours and 55 minutes' deliberation on Tuesday.