A British tourist will spend more than two decades in prison after police in the Middle East discovered a tiny amount of his friend’s leftover marijuana.

A British football coach based in Dubai has been jailed for 25 years after being found with four tiny bottles of harmless CBD vape oil.

Police searched 24-year-old Billy Hood’s Dubai apartment and car after a rogue drugs tip, but instead officers found only cash and the oil, The Sun reported.

Vaping CBD oil is legal in the UK and has become extremely popular – typically used to relieve pain, anxiety or stress.

But because it contains trace elements of THC – the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis – Mr Hood was arrested and thrown in prison under the United Arab Emirates’ drug laws.

After his arrest on January 31, campaigners said Mr Hood was forced to sign a false confession written in Arabic admitting to the more serious offences of selling and trafficking the oil.

And last week Mr Hood, originally from London, was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

His heartbroken mum Brea told The Sun she was struggling.

“I don’t think there’s a word in the dictionary that describes the pain I’m going through,” she said.

“I can’t talk about it without tears forming in my eyes. It’s too hard to take in.

“The odd time he tries to phone… we love him so much.”

Mr Hood is a former semi-pro footballer and used to play for Kensington & Ealing Borough before he moved to Dubai to coach kids’ football.

His mum Breda said he never touched drugs.

“This is not our Billy, he is 100 per cent innocent. There has been no help from the embassy. We have been in touch with them non-stop. I’ve contacted them every day. The most I’ve got from them is that ‘he’s OK’,” she said.

In a statement through his lawyers, Mr Hood said he had just moved to Dubai and was arrested when he went to get something from his car.

“They jumped out to arrest me, handcuffed me. One officer jumped out and pointed a Taser at me, threatening to use it if I didn’t co-operate,” he said.

“They demanded to show them where the drugs are. I was shocked, scared and confused. I told them I wasn’t aware or in possession of any drugs or substances.”

The police had told Mr Hood they were interested in him because of something they had seen on social media.

Convinced they had the wrong man, Mr Hood allowed officers to search his apartment and car and submitted to a drugs test which came back negative.

Officers found a few thousands pounds in cash in his apartment which Mr Hood said was money from his new employer while he set a bank account up.

They then searched his company car and found four 5ml cartridges of CBD vape oil and a vape pen in the car door.

Mr Hood explained that his friend from England had visited a few weeks earlier and he must have left the CBD oil in the car while on the way to the airport.

His explanation fell on deaf ears and he was taken to Dubai’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters.

It’s claimed the police then pressured Mr Hood into signing a written confession in Arabic.

Detained in Dubai, a charity that helps Westerners who are slapped with long and unjust sentences in the UAE, is helping Mr Hood’s family.

“He was arrested and accused of trafficking, selling and being in the possession of CBD oil, which is illegal in the UAE,” founder and CEO, Radha Stirling told The Sun.

“He had been in prison for four days and was forced and coerced into signing a confession, which is commonplace in Dubai.

“Being in possession of CBD oil would be a very very small sentence, possibly a few years maximum, but because they’ve added trafficking and selling in there it has become 25 years.

“The only evidence is the confession which was in Arabic and he didn’t know what he was signing.

“Billy only had a very small amount of the CBD oil, but within the oil there are microscopic trace elements of the active ingredient THC and that’s enough for a conviction.

“It’s incredible, 25 years for having an oil that can’t even get you high, it’s extreme.”

Ms Stirling Radha said a lawyer for Mr Hood will lodge an appeal and her organisation plans to lobby the British government for help in a bid to have the sentence overturned.

A terrified Mr Hood said in a statement he was upset and scared for his future.

“I do not smoke vape pens, cigarettes or even shisha.

“For me to be accused of promoting and selling drugs in a country that has the same beliefs and values as me is very upsetting as it affects my future.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said consular support was being provided.

“We are giving consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned in the UAE,” they said.

There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in the UAE.

The penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe.

Sentences for drug trafficking can include the death penalty and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can lead to a minimum four-year jail sentence.

Mr Hood’s family has set up a GoFundMe page which has so far raised almost £11,000 ($A23,000).

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission.