A BURNLEY man claimed he had been blackmailed into looking after a stash of heroin, a court heard.

Police raided the home of Ahad Miah and found a packet containing 12.9 grams of heroin in a jeans pocket in his bedroom, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker said that ordinarily the drugs could have been split up into just over 70 individual deals, with a street value around £710. But the purity of the drug was found, by forensic examiners, to be around 58 per cent, the court heard.

And officers also found more than 900 grams of paracetamol and caffeine, well-known cutting agents for heroin, underneath his bed.

Police also recovered a small amount of cannabis bush from his car and he was arrested and later charged.

Interviewed by officers, he acknowledged the drugs would have been combined to provide a larger yield. He insisted he had been blackmailed by someone who ‘held information on him’ who he was not prepared to name. Miah, 23, of Ormerod Street, Burnley, who admitted possession of heroin with intent to supply and possession of cannabis, was jailed for 20 months.

Nigel Booth, defending, said Miah had acted under duress, but only in the colloquial sense of the word.

The defendant, who had a number of previous convictions for violence, had a number of references, including one from a local councillor, and had a different side to his personality, he added.

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Gibson said that people who looked after class A drugs performed an important function in the overall supply of susbstances such as heroin.