Sunderland drug dealers ordered to hand back just ONE POUND each - and given a month to pay up!

Shafiq Iqbal and Mursalin Ali
Shafiq Iqbal and Mursalin Ali

Two drug dealers who sold "misery" on their streets while driving around in luxury cars have been ordered to hand over just £1 each from their Ill-gotten gains - and been given a month to save it up.

Shafiq Iqbal, who drove a Mercedes, and Mursalin Ali, a university graduate who drove a BMW X5, were given their first ever jail terms earlier this year for supplying narcotics to a Northumbria Police officer who disguised herself as an addict called 'Sarah'.

The two young dealers were caught as part of a wider operation which took place over the course of seven months, aiming to stamp out the number of drug dealers in Sunderland.

After the prison sentences were imposed, prosecutors perused the pair under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to seize any assets they have.

The case has now been back at Newcastle Crown Court, where both men have been ordered to pay just one pound each.

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court Ali pocketed £360 profit through his offending and Iqbal made £280.

But Miss Masters said each man has just £1 in assets which can be seized.

Mr recorder Simon Goldberg said the men must hand over the cash within a month or face further time behind bars.

The judge said: "They have 28 days to pay, on both orders, and the default period is 14 days."

The court heard the men’s offending took place between 3 October 2016 and 3 April 2017.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the last hearing: "The defendants came to the attention of the police at the latter part of the operation. The test purchase officer by the name of 'Sarah' was based in the Sunderland area."

Mr Rowland said the officer made contact with Iqbal after being given his number by 'Baz from Hendon' - who turned out to be co-defendant Ali.

On February 15, 2017, the officer arranged to meet Iqbal on Tunstall Terrace, where she paid £40 for 337mg of cocaine.

The pair met a further five times, until Iqbal suggested that he could get some methadone, also known as M-CAT, for 'Sarah'.

Mr Rowland added: "Ali then became involved. He was in the passenger seat of Iqbal's Mercedes motor-vehicle.

"Ali said he was in the position to supply M-CAT or source it on her behalf.

"They were motivated by financial gain."

On March 13, the officer then met with Ali who supplied her with a grip seal bag containing 6.9g of M-CAT for £120.

She met with Ali two more times until he and his co-accused were arrested in April.

Iqbal, 25, admitted six counts of supplying a class A drug and 26-year-old Ali pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying a class B drug.

Andrew Rutter, defending Iqbal, told the earlier hearing: "He is a young man from a devout family, who in 2016 became bedevilled by depression.

"He was introduced to cocaine by a friend to alleviate his symptoms of depression."

Mr Rutter explained that the restaurant manager very quickly became addicted to the drug and racked up debts to his dealer.

He was then told that his only way to relieve the debt would be to sell the drugs on the streets as payback.

He added: "He has been exploited like many others who get addicted to drugs.

"His family are supportive but they are dismayed that their son could be involved in class A.

"Since his arrest a year has passed and he has used that in the most constructive pattern."

Vic Laffey, defending Ali, said that his client had also been in a similar situation after becoming addicted to M-Cat.

He said: "It was something he used socially but became addicted in a very short period of time.

"In the last year he has graduated from Sunderland University and has got married. He is in employment.

"He was given a certificate of achievement from the Bangladeshi community for working with children."

Iqbal, of Thornhill Crescent, Sunderland, was jailed for three years, and Ali, of Northcote Avenue, Sunderland, for seven months.

Recorder David Gordon told them: "Both of you were significant players in this operation.

"But I bear in mind that in both cases, your lack of previous convictions.

"You both became involved initially due to pressure having amassed debts.

"The drugs on our streets bring misery and degradation to young people.

"This type of behaviour will not be condoned."