Two drug dealers from the same street are facing lengthy jail terms after police found a pistol along with ammunition and a silencer in an Accrington house raid.
Burnley Crown Court was told that Nadeem Abbas was found sleeping on a bed in which the gun was discovered, along with £40,000.
The prosecution said Abbas, 39, was a ‘trusted part of criminal gang’, and his neighbour on Persia Street Zaheer Mahmood, 34, was a ‘significant player’ in the conspiracy.
Mahmood and Abbas were found guilty after a trial of two counts of possessing prohibited firearms and one count of possessing ammunition.
Mahmood was also found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Abbas earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge, claiming that on one occasion he helped to clean up after heroin had been diluted by other men.
The court heard that officers also found heroin, face masks, heroin cutting agents and a hydraulic press during the raid in 2013.
Abbas’ fingerprints were also found on the hydraulic press, however he claimed this was intended to be used ‘innocently’ in a proposed takeaway.
The prosecution said Mahmood was ‘fully involved’ in a drugs conspiracy, knew about the firearm and ammunition and ‘had control over them’.
They also said he was above Abbas ‘in the hierarchy’ of the gang.
The court heard that the day before the house raid, taxi driver Mahmood drove over to Bradford with Abbas and returned with a box of cutting agent used for diluting heroin.
When interviewed by police, Mahmood said he thought he was travelling to Bradford to earn some money and to help Abbas pick up cheap alcohol, the court was told.
But the jury heard that Abbas claimed the trip was Mahmood’s idea and he went along as he had ‘nothing better to do’.
Abbas told the court that he is a ‘poor and simple man’ and was a ‘pawn in the hands of sophisticated criminals’ and at the ‘bottom of the pile’.
He told police he was recruited by others to ‘act as a custodian or minder of the drugs’ and in return was provided with accommodation and some money. He denied any knowledge of the prohibited weapon, silencer and ammunition.
Judge Graham Knowles QC said it was ‘inevitable’ that both Accrington men will go to prison ‘for a long time’, and adjourned sentence until September 11 at Preston Crown Court.