A POOLE man caught importing a large quantity of a powerful hallucinogenic drug which he was using for his 'spiritual journey' has been spared jail.

Christopher Brain, 38, acquired the potent N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, more commonly known as DMT, from a contact in Brazil he met online.

However, the package was intercepted by officials at the Parcelforce depot in Coventry when it arrived in the UK on September 19, 2018.

It was found to contain 1kg of exotic bark with DMT in it, which can be smoked or injected to give 'powerful trips'.

DMT is a traditional spiritual medicine used in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin.

The court heard Brain would post about DMT on social media and WhatsApp groups where users would describe their experiences of the drug.

Brain paid £100 for the package which could have been distilled to create drugs with a street value of up to £5,000.

However, the prosecution said there was no evidence that Brain intended to distribute DMT on a 'commercial basis'.

Lucy Conroy, prosecuting, said: "A Border Force customs officer from the Parcelforce depot in Coventry identified a suspicious package addressed to Mr Brain and it was found to contain 1kg of DMT which was seized.

"A subsequent search of his house found a small amount of cannabis.

"DMT is found in the bark of certain trees and their crystals are then extracted.

"The effect of the drug causes a large trip.

"We do not believe he was running a commercial supply operation by any means."

Roderick Blain, mitigating, said the defendant was not intending to deal the drugs as he had paid for the package with his own name and used his PayPal account.

He said: "Everything was traceable. He is not a drug dealer who wanted to supply it on a commercial basis.

"He wasn't aware that he was importing something that could be equated to heroin or cocaine."

Brain, of Frobisher Avenue, Poole, pleaded guilty to importing an illegal drug with the intent 'to evade a prohibition'.

He also admitted one count of possessing class B cannabis.

He was given a six month prison sentence which is suspended for 15 months, as well as 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay a £115 statutory charge.

Sentencing at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday, Judge Brian Forster QC said: "Clearly you were on some sort of spiritual journey.

"Whatever journey that was, it nearly ended up in prison.

"If the crystals had been supplied on a commercial basis they would have had a value of £1,000 to £5,000.

"You have learnt a severe lesson and I don't believe you at risk of committing further offences."