BROTHERS who flooded Blackburn with heroin and crack cocaine earned nearly £3.4million - but must only repay a pittance from their ill-gotten gains.

Manier and Kadeer Hussain were behind a hard drugs network focused on the town’s Audley Range area, which was eventually smashed by police.

But a judge sitting at Burnley Crown Court has now ruled that the pair’s realisable assets amount to only a few thousand pounds.

Blackburn’s former police chief Bob Eastwood has blasted the outcome - insisting that crime did actually pay in the Hussains’ case.

Judge Andrew Woolman found that the profits accumulated by 47-year-old Manier Hussain totalled £2,769,000.

But the available funds, after a police investigation, were said to be only £2,920.

He now has three months to repay the amount in full or face an extra three months in jail.

Kadeer Hussain, 41, was said to have benefitted to the tune of £600,000.

And as his assets total only £2,099, he has 28 days to find that amount - or be imprisoned for an additional one day.

Speaking after the case Bob Eastwood, the former Eastern policing division chief superintendent, said: “I think it is shocking that the courts have only been able to seize such a small proportion of the criminal gains of these two individuals.

“It does appear on the face of it that crime pays.

“Nevertheless these two did at least get quite substantial custodial sentences at the time.

“I am sure the police will have done their best to recover as much money as they can.

“I do hope they will continue to investigate this case to see if they can find any other assets.

“It’s the taxpayer who ultimately loses out in cases like this.”

For his part in the drugs conspiracy, which saw drugs shifted wholesale from Liverpool to Blackburn, the gang kingpin Manier Hussain, who was also known as Kabbir, was jailed for 16 years, after being convicted following a trial.

Kadeer Hussain, who was responsible for dishing out heroin and crack cocaine to dealers from their base in Kempton Rise, was jailed for six years and eight months.

Jail sentences totalling 90 years were handed out to 20-plus members of their gang, who used a dedicated mobile number, dubbed the ‘666 Sharky Line’ to distribute narcotics.

Det Insp Mark Vaughton, who investigated the case, described the network as “one of the largest drug supply investigations in the area for many years” at the time.

He said that the operation came about after the public had expressed grave concerns regarding the effect the drug dealing was having on their community.

Judge Woolman also ordered the seizure of two VW Golfs, a Ford S-Max, one quad bike and an Audi Quattro RS3, which were used by the gang.