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A DRUG dealer who tried to recruit an undercover cop into his business has been jailed for three years.

Shabaz Shah, 32, offered to pay the officer, known only as 'Ray', up to £100 a day to be his driver, while he sold heroin and crack on the streets of Blackburn.

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But Shah and his cousin Yasser Shah, 28, were caught out in an undercover sting to tackle street dealing in the town.

The pair have now been jailed after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

Preston Crown Court heard Ray, an officer posing as an addict, received a number of text messages in June last year, advertising drugs for sale.

On June 16 he called the phone and was directed to a nearby location to wait for a silver Chevrolet.

As Ray approached the vehicle, Shabaz, known as ‘Social’, directed him to the driver’s side where his cousin Yasser, known as ‘Slim’ handed him a £20 wrap of heroin and a £15 wrap of crack.

The following day, Ray called the phone again and placed an order for heroin and crack, the court heard.

He was told to wait by a takeaway in Wensley Road, until Shabbah turned up in the same car and handed over the drugs in exchange for £35.

During the deal, Shah, of Wensley Road, told the officer he had recently recruited a man called Charlie to work as his driver, but as Charlie did not have a licence he would pay Ray to travel in the car with him.

Further deals of heroin and crack took place between Shabaz Shah and Ray on June 18 and July 2 as part of a wider investigation into street dealing in Blackburn.

Shabaz and Yasser, also of Wensley Road, were arrested during a series of raids on October 25 and 26, and taken to Greenbank Police Station for questioning.

Shabaz exercised his right to silence, while Yasser admitted being concerned in the supply of class A drugs on June 16, on the basis he was not a regular drug dealer and had only become involved when his cousin took an order while they were in the car together.

Recorder Tina Griffiths, sentencing, said: “Shabaz, on each occasion a similar amount of heroin and crack were involved.

“Text messages advertising drugs for purchase came from a phone controlled by you and there was a vehicle driven by you and on one occasion, your co-defendant.

“You had responsibility for the hiring and firing, offering the officer up to £100 a day.

“Yasser Shah, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, in your co-accused’s vehicle when he got an order, and you handed over the drugs.”

The judge jailed Shabaz for 36 months and Yasser for 18 months and ordered the drugs and the mobile phone to be destroyed.