A DRUGS gang which recruited members from those who owed debts to its leader has been sent to prison for a total of almost 25 years.

The group peddled heroin, cocaine and cannabis on the streets of East Lancashire and were caught selling drugs to an undercover officer, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Police were alerted to the supply chain after concerned members of the public rang them.

The gang was headed by Accrington man Amar Amin, 33.

The court heard there were thousands of calls and texts between him and eight other gang members, some of whom had only got involved to pay off debts they owed him.

Judge Beverley Lunt sentenced Amar Amin, of Tremellen Street, to seven years and four months behind bars after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

The judge said: “You say you became involved because you owed money to drug dealers, but you were quite prepared to ensnare others.

“You may have begun your career as a runner, but by the time you were arrested, you were the very centre of this conspiracy.”

Amar Amin recruited Daniel Ryder, 21, of Clegg Street, Accrington, as a dealer and runner.

He supplied drugs to the undercover officer, who was nicknamed Barnsey, on six occasions. Ryder admitted being part of the conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

The court heard he broke into a property and stole cannabis plants with the intention of selling them on. He was jailed for four years.

Daniel Jackson, 23, of West Street, Padiham, and Zebo Burgess, 23, of Nuttall Street, Accrington, also admitted conspiracy and were each sentenced to three years in jail. Jackson offered his services to Amar Amin so he could pay back money he owed him and Burgess got involved when he crashed his car and owed the gang’s boss thousands of pounds for the repair work.

Daniel Scholes, 23, of Marlborough Road, Accrington, supplied drugs to Barnsey on three separate occasions.

Judge Lunt said she believed there was ‘still a chance’ for him to lead a drug-free life and gave him a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. He is also subject to a 12-month supervision order and a six- month drug rehabilitation.

Paul Birtwell was recruited so he could repay a drug debt. The 22-year-old of Meadow Street, Accrington, dealt drugs to the undercover officer three times. He was sent to prison for three years and four months.

Fazheer Hussain, 24, of Whalley Street, Burnley, was found to have had ‘limited involvement’ and jailed for three months.

John Lavery received a three-year jail term, suspended for 12 months, for supplying class A drugs and breach of a suspended sentence.

He supplied drugs to Barnsey on a single occasion, but was not involved in the wider cons- piracy, the court heard.

Mohammed Amin and Qaser Amin, both 28, pleaded guilty to being involved in a conspiracy to supply class B drugs.

Judge Lunt heard Qaser Amin, of Tremellen Street, Accrington, started as a street dealer, but later took on a more ‘organisational role’. He was sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars.

Mohammed Amin, of Steiner Street, Accrington, was involved for only three weeks.

Judge Lunt sentenced him to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months. He must comply with a 12-month supervision order.

Daniel Flood, of Lodge Street, was involved in a conspiracy to supply class A drugs with people not involved in this case. The 26-year-old took orders and sent and received hundreds of texts arranging deals. He was sentenced to four years and six months in jail.

After the hearing, Det Insp Mark Vaughton, said: “These were deals on a street level and we identified a network as a result of the operation.

“I would like to thank the local community. This is a really good example of how we will deal with an issue when they highlight it to us.”

Proceeds of crime hearings will take place on December 5.