A YOUNG boxer who represented Great Britain and a chef who worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant have been jailed for drugs offences.

Preston Crown Court was told how on January 10, Moeen Khan, 21, and 32-year-old Alex Marsh had been stopped by police on Griffin Street, Blackburn.

On searching their vehicle, which Marsh was driving, officers found more than £100 cash, two mobile phones containing text messages and phone conversations relating to drug deals, and a Kinder egg toy container stuffed with 10 wraps of heroin and four wraps of cocaine.

Prosecuting, Paul Cummings said in committing the offence on January 10, Khan had been in breach of a suspended sentence.

Mr Cummings said: “In December, Mr Khan was handed a suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin and one count of possessing a bladed article.

“Mr Marsh was only involved as a driver on the day in question.”

Defending Khan, Saleema Mahmood said her client had no previous convictions and had become coerced into an involvement with drugs because of a strained home life, in which he had had to take responsibility for his siblings after his mother fell ill.

She said: “The mental health of this defendant is particularly pertinent. He had two attempts at taking his own life in December which coincided with the suspended sentence and therefore did not have the ability to engage with that order.

“He was facing pressure from above influences to carry these drugs on the streets where he lived and pay off debts, otherwise there would have been consequences for him and his family.

“Getting involved with drugs was the only way he thought he could handle things.

“A statement from his boxing coach said he is not in the possession of the characteristics of someone who is regularly street dealing. He is the complete opposite.”

In Marsh’s defence, Neil Fryman said: “Mr Marsh has worked as a chef in Michelin-starred restaurants and even opened his own restaurant in London before this.

“But he had a drug habit and a debt that he was trying to pay off and as a result was coerced and exploited into becoming involved in dealing, but was only concerned with supplying on this one occasion.

“He has taken enormous strides in getting himself back on track, including moving back to his mother’s and finding employment again as a chef, and he has apologised in a letter to the court, for his actions.”

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Judge Simon Medland said: “The sorry fact of the matter is that class A drugs destroy people’s lives, break up families and corrode society, and in your cases they were destroying your lives as well.

“I appreciate there are higher people in the chain of command of whom you were frightened, but these are serious offences.”

Khan, of Ontario Close, Blackburn, was sentenced to three years and eight months, for intent to supply heroin and cocaine, and for breaching his suspended sentence.

Marsh, of Logwood Street, Blackburn, was sentenced to 28 months for two counts of being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine.