A SUCCESSFUL Bolton businessman was leading a double life as a drugs boss, importing and selling millions of pounds worth of cocaine, heroin and cannabis, a court has heard.

Irtiza Bashir, who drove a Bentley and owned two luxury homes in Lostock, was even involved in a conspiracy to smuggle huge quantities of cocaine from Holland, packed in frozen chickens to a cold storage unit in Blackburn.

But Bolton Crown Court heard how he was identified as a key player among drug dealers when police uncovered information from encrypted EncroChat phones and came across pictures sent by a user with the handle ‘Weststreet’.

They showed the garden and kitchen of the detached home at 80 Chorley New Road, Lostock, which Bashir shared with his mother and teenage son.

Neil Fryman, prosecuting, told the jury how the EncroChat phone system is secretive, expensive and used internationally by criminals.

Several messages were passed using it between ‘Weststreet’, which the prosecution allege is 45-year-old Bashir and Sohail Ali, aged 37, of Revridge Road, Blackburn, using the handle ‘Liquidemu’.

The jury was told Ali, who has already pleaded guilty to involvement in the drugs conspiracy, acted as a courier under the direction of Bashir and, at one stage, was described as an “idiot” by him for having tradesmen carrying out work at his home while he had £1million of cocaine stored there.

“Stop having work done at your house. You’ve got 25 Tops (kilos of cocaine) about you,” Ali was told.

Notes in the EncroChat information revealed that ‘Weststreet’ was involved in dealing 537kg of cocaine and heroin worth more than £40 million and, when lockdown hit, was involved in discussions with ‘Liquidemu’ about how to move drugs around when there was less traffic on the roads. Hiding large blocks of drugs behind stacks of toilet rolls in vans or in bags of rice were discussed.

“A lot of thought and detail is discussed between conspirators as to how to move drugs around and how to secrete them,” said Mr Fryman.

But the drugs business was said to be very lucrative for Bashir, who also bought himself another, larger house on Chorley New Road, worth more than £1 million.

At one stage Bashir is said to have boasted to another EncroChat user: “Mad though,1kg of Tops (cocaine) is worth the same, almost, as a kilogram of gold.”

That Bashir’s business, Haslingden-based Globe Recycling Services Ltd, his Bolton’s home and Ali’s house were raided on December 16 last year there were also plans being formulated to smuggle more cocaine into the UK from Holland.

“The importation of the cocaine included an extensive plan. The setting up of a drugs importation route from Holland, involving the packing of cocaine within frozen chicken and transporting this to a cold storage unit in the Blackburn/Accrington area,” said Mr Fryman.

“A unit was successfully located and was due to be fitted with a cold store and food licences were to be obtained.”

The conspirators discussed how to make the business look legitimate, selling chickens locally. A member Ali’s family was to run the business with ‘Weststreet being a silent partner.

“The Crown’s case is this defendant is both a good businessman and a major drug dealer, “ said Mr Fryman.

Bashir denies conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis and conspiracy to launder criminal cash.

He claims that ‘Weststreet’ in the EncroChat information is not him.

The trial continues.