A heroin dealer who was suspiciously found hiding under trees near a primary school has been jailed.
Muhammed Shafiq, of Steiner Street, Accrington, was spotted by police close to Hyndburn Park primary school with nine wraps of heroin, two mobile phones and £195 cash.
Burnley Crown Court heard how officers later searched Shafiq’s former flat on Church Street and found more mobile phone sim cards and £460 cash.
The court heard that there was ‘no suggestion’ Shafiq had been supplying to any schoolchildren.
He claimed to officers that he thought the heroin was Indian pipe tobacco.
Shafiq, 34, was found guilty after a trial of possessing heroin with intent to supply and was jailed for 30 months.
Wayne Jackson, prosecuting, said the incident happened at around 2.30pm on July 4, 2014 when officers found Shafiq under conifers on an unmade road linking Park Road, Monk Street and Princess Street in Accrington.
He told the court how Shafiq could ‘offer no reasonable explanation as to why he was there’ and kept ‘moving his hands back towards his pockets’.
Mark Stuart, defending, said Pakistani national Shafiq had been living in the country for 13 years ‘with an unblemished record until now’.
He told the court: “There are two prospects regarding the defendant’s involvement.
“He could potentially be a low level street drug dealer or he was holding them, knowing them to be drugs, to return them to the person he got them from.
“There is no suggestion he intended to supply it to anyone at any school nor was he receiving or making calls related to the supply of drugs.
“There was nothing found in his flat to suggest he made them into deals and there was no small bags or scales.
“The defendant believed it be a non-illegal substance. He thought it was Indian pipe tobacco or something like it.”
Judge Jonathan Gibson said the sentence must be immediate imprisonment.
Sentencing, he said: “It’s clear the jury rejected that explanation because they found you guilty.
“It seems to me that you knew you this was involvement in dealing class A drugs.
“Involvement in the commercial supply of heroin, even at a lesser role, does require an immediate custodial sentence.”