A MAN who was travelling in a stolen car with alleged drug dealers has avoided a prison sentence after being caught by police with street deals of cannabis.

Preston Crown Court heard Haider Shazad, 23, was in a stolen car being driven on the A59 near Whalley in August 2018.

The car, a Vauxhall Astra, turned towards Accrington and officers began to follow.

When the driver was told to stop, they made off down Wiswell Lane at excessive speed, before becoming involved in a minor collision as it raced through Whalley.

Prosecuting, Frank Dillon said: “As it sped through Whalley, items were discarded from the passenger side.

“The car then came into Great Harwood and made off from the police, before officers discovered it a short time later.”

The court heard that one of the officers searched the area where the items had been discarded and found cannabis in street deals of £20 each, along with class A drugs.

Messages on a phone seized from Shazad revealed he had been a passenger in the car, although when he was finally interviewed in 2019, he denied being in the stolen vehicle.

Mr Dillon said: “The vehicle was being used to supply and sell drugs, although Mr Shazad was only involved in the charges relating to cannabis.

“His activity was characterised as street dealing, motivated by financial advantage.”

Shazad, of Lewis Street, Great Harwood, admitted possession of cannabis with the intent to supply, but only after dragging the case out for more than a year and finally admitting the charge at a trial in February.

Defending, Mark Stuart said his client’s father had been present at most of his court appearances and in the two years it had taken the case to come to court, Shazad had been holding down a job.

He said: “He was not the driver and it was a limited amount of drugs, and all the class A drugs belonged to someone else.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt said: “You mix with people like this, people who I have given prison sentences to, and this is where you are going to end up.

“You knew he was a drug dealer, you bought drugs off him.

“Your only previous conviction was a minor matter in 2013, and now you have a conviction as a drug dealer. Choose your companions more wisely and grow up.”

He was given 10 months in prison suspended for 12 months.