Nelson men in court for perverting justice

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

Two Nelson men have been handed suspended prison sentences after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Farhaan Zaroof (22), of Berkeley Street and Aqeel Shah (22), of Hartley Street were sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for a year by Recorder Michael Blakey at Burnley Crown Court on Friday.

The pair were also ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work and each pay a £100 surcharge.

The offence dates back to March last year when Rockab Afzal, who was jailed for two years nine months in October, was arrested on conspiracy to supply heroin after police search a house in Barrowford.

During the search, a key for a Renault Megane was found in an Audi parked outside the Barrowford address. The Renault had been left in Pilgrim Street, Nelson.

At the same time as Afzal’s arrest, a witness had seen the windows of the Renault being smashed and phoned the police.

Burnley Crown Court heard a minute before the witness’s call, the police received an anonymous hoax distraction cal, which later turned out to be from Shah’s phone, stating that there was a group of Asian males causing a public order offence in Brierfield.

Meanwhile, Zaroof had entered Pilgrim Street to remove the car on a low loader truck. At that time a further distraction call was made to police on the phoney fight; that call made by Shahid Ansar, of St Paul’s Road, Nelson, who was also jailed in October for three years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The truck was recovered by police and inside the car was 2kg of cutting agents and 25 grams of heroin valued at £1,400.

Zaroof’s number was found to be under the name “Frank” in a mobile phone owned by Afzal which was damaged by him at the time of his arrest in Barrowford.

Andrew Pilkington (defending Zaroof) said his client did not know the contents of the car but “firmly accepts that he knew there was something illegal about the situation but not the extent”.

Mr Pilkington said Zaroof’s actions were “foolish” but said he was “remorseful for what he has done and the situation he finds himself in”.

Philip Holden (defending Shah) asked for any sentence to be suspended.

Recorder Blakey said: “Fortunately for you, had you known what was in that motor vehicle, I might have taken a different view.”