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Monday, August 8, 2022

‘I am not a drug dealer’, claims Bolton businessman

A MAN accused of running a multi-million pound drugs operation has told a jury his luxury lifestyle came as result of running a successful tyre recycling business.

Irtiza Bashir drove a Bentley with private number plates, lived in one detached Lostock house rented by his firm and had bought another, worth more than £1 million on Chorley New Road when he was arrested by police on December 16 last year.

But a jury at Bolton Crown Court heard how he was identified as a key player among drug dealers when police uncovered information from encrypted EncroChat phones and came across pictures sent by a user with the handle ‘Weststreet’.

The prosecution allege 45-year-old Bashir is ‘Weststreet’ and, as well as masterminding the movement and sale of cocaine, heroin and cannabis worth more than £40 million, was conspiring with others to import drugs from Holland in frozen chickens to a cold stage unit in the Blackburn/Accrington area.

Bashir denies conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis and conspiracy to launder criminal cash.

Giving evidence in his own defence the Bolton dad told the court that his wealth was a result of Haslingden-based Globe Recycling Services Ltd, a company he has run for 12 years.

“I put all my sweat and blood into it and it is very, very important to me,” he said.

He added that, although his salary is £10,000 a year, he is also paid in dividends and directors’ loans.

In October 2019 the company had a balance of £500,000 and, over a 19-month period, turnover was between £800,000 and over £1 million.

Bashir claimed he bought his personalised number plates as an investment and he owned the Bentley for four weeks before his arrest as he was planning to sell it on for up to £30,000 profit.

He told the jury that, before lockdown, his brothers Rizwan and Amir, along with their friend, came to live at the house at 80 Chorley New Road which he shares with his mother and son.

Peter Wright QC, defending, asked Bashir: “Are you a drug dealer?”

“Not at all,” replied Bashir.

“Were you Weststreet?”

“Never.”

The trial continues.



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