A former rapper who used to date a singer from girl band Little Mix has appeared in court accused of plotting to smuggle £200,000 worth of cocaine.

Harry Byart, of Merlin Close, Waltham Abbey, has denied handing over almost a kilogram of cocaine to 34-year-old taxi driver Edson Monteiro de Resende to be transferred down to Swindon.

The 25-year-old enjoyed chart success in the early 2010s under the name Fugative appeared at Bristol Crown Court alongside four other men on Tuesday, July 16.

Byart had been dating Jesy Nelson for two months by then, after first being seen together on a romantic holiday in Mykonos in the July.

All five suspects have been charged with conspiracy to supply the class A drug into Swindon.

Prosecutor Simon Foster said undercover police officers had followed de Resende as he was sent down the M4 from Swindon to pick up the drugs in London on the evening of September 7, 2017.

Mr Foster said the taxi driver had been despatched by Marcus Mawire, 24, of Milton Road, Sittingbourne, who is said to have been in charge of the Swindon end of the operation.

London-based Nahkell Gordon, 32, formerly of Eastwood Close, London, and Byart are believed to be involved in the delivery of the illegal substance.

Telephone records showed that communication had built up to a “veritable blizzard of phone calls” on the night of the incident.

Bristol Crown Court heard de Resende took Mawire to a launderette on Mnachester Road, Swindon in the afternoon.

de Resende then travelled to Hendon, arriving at 9.20pm where police watched two men get into his car, the court heard.

His car was later seen 20 miles to the northeast, in Waltham Abbey, where a BMW allegedly driven by Byart pulled up alongside the cab with its windows rolled down.

The Crown claims it was here that the handover took place.

By 11.04pm police tracked de Resende on the M4 headed back to Swindon, and they made their arrest just after midnight.

Tests later revealed the triangular parcel of cocaine left on the passenger seat was of 87 per cent purity, had a wholesale value of around £30,000 to £40,000.

This amount of drugs and could have been cut down to make around £200,000 worth of street deals.

In a police interview, de Resende claimed he had simply been asked by Mawire to deliver a parcel of medicine to a relative in London.

He stole a look at the package on his return journey to Swindon and panicked when he realised it was cocaine.

Byart told police he had been returning a phone charger and other items belonging to Gordon, who raps under the moniker J Avalanche.

Prosecutor Simon Foster said: “He said Mr Gordon had been in his music studio two or three nights before and had left something behind - a phone charger and a sum of money.

“He had been asked to hand whose items over to someone in the car.”

Mr Foster said at least one member of the alleged conspiracy, whose number appeared on call logs between the group, had not been traced.

Dean Mulholland, 28, of Limes Avenue, Swindon, who is also connected to the incident denies conspiracy to supply cocaine along with the other four men.

The trial continues.