A HEROIN addict acting as a chauffeur for a drug dealer in Blackburn ended up swallowing a container full of steroids in a failed bid to get rid of evidence.

Preston Crown Court heard that Dermot Joseph Donegan had been seen by plain clothes officers helping to conduct drug deals with Imran Mahmood in Wensley Road at 11.15am on May 15.

Prosecutor, David Clarke said as officers went to arrest the pair, Donegan reversed the Saab he was driving into a police car.

The court heard Mahmood ran off but was arrested by Sgt Haydn Sibley and found to be carrying a small plastic package containing 30 £10 wraps of heroin.

Mr Clarke said in the car 46-year-old Donegan's 'cheeks were bulging' as he attempted to swallow the contents of a tub and he lashed out as officers tried to stop him.

Officers had managed to get his left hand in handcuffs but Donegan began revving the engine violently and trying to reach the gear stick with his right hand.

Mr Clarke said officers feared that if the car had been put into gear then one of them would have been dragged along the road into the path of another vehicle or a parked car,

Donegan was PAVA sprayed twice and as officers arrested him they found a £10 wrap of heroin on his lap and £50 in his pocket.

Following Mahmood's arrest officers went to his property in Apple Close, Blackburn, where in a locked bedroom they found plastic bags and rolls of plastic which contained residue of heroin.

Mr Clarke said it was the second time in months Mahmood had been arrested for drug-dealing.

He said that at 1.45am on January 7 police stopped a Ford Mondeo in Larkhill, Blackburn.

When police asked for his details, Mahmood gave the false name of Wasim Khan and claimed to be the owner of the vehicle.

Already acting nervously, Mahmood's behaviour came even more suspicious when police said there was a trader's insurance policy on the Mondeo.

When police searched Mahmood, 33, of no fixed address, they found £940 cash in one jacket pocket and five wraps of heroin and 13 wraps of crack cocaine in another.

Mahmood, who was jailed for 31 months for drug-dealing in 2014, pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Donegan, of Aysgarth Drive, Darwen, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply. He claimed he was driving Mahmood around to pay off a drug debt.

Defending, Mahmood, Andy Scott said his client had managed to get himself clean of cocaine while on remand in prison and his family have secured him jobs working in a food outlet by day and a taxi operator by night when he is released.

Mr Scott said: "The defendant is 33. Through me, he wishes to say sorry. He is remorseful. He had let not only himself down but he has also let his family down."

Defending Donegan, Clare Thomas said her client had been taking heroin for 30 years. He had a supportive family who had put him in rehab five times. But after missing his elder sister's wedding and parents' 50th wedding anniversary while on remand he was extra-motivated to rid himself of his addiction.

Ms Thomas added: "He describes his addiction as being an embarrassment. He knows he has brought shame to his family."

Judge Philip Parry jailed Mahmood for dour years and six months and Donegan for three years and two months.