AN undercover policeman was sold heroin by a mobile phone salesman who was wearing his works ID badge round his neck.

Blackburn magistrates heard that the 26-year-old did the "deal" in his lunch hour after being put under pressure by a man he owed money to.

Basharat Ditta, defending, said that despite pleading guilty to supplying the drug, his client was clearly not a typical dealer. "The naivety of his behaviour sets him aside," said Mr Ditta. "This is the only time he has ever supplied drugs."

Yasir Patel, 28, of Carr Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to supplying heroin to an undercover officer.

He was committed on bail to Preston Crown Court for sentence.

Patel was arrested as part of operation Nimrod which has been targeting street dealers.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said Patel had no previous convictions, but had acted as a "runner" for a man she described as a central figure among the 20 arrested in recent weeks.

"In his lunch hour from work he was in the town centre supplying heroin to a man he has never met before," said Mrs Statham.

Mr Ditta said in the summer Patel had been involved in cocaine to a large extent, at one stage spending up to £500 a week, and ran up debts of £16,500.

"His mother remortgaged her home to pay off the debts and his brothers made sure he went into rehab," said Mr Ditta. "That was a success and he is now free of drugs and actually holding down two jobs so he can pay his family back."