Dealer had 40,000 laugh­ing gas bot­tles

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By SAM YARWOOD sam.yarwood@trin­i­tymir­ @sam­yarwood89

A DRUG dealer nick­named the ‘Manch­ester Gas Man’ has avoided prison – de­spite hav­ing 40,000 can­is­ters of laugh­ing gas.

The can­is­ters of ni­trous ox­ide were dis­cov­ered in Zubair Iftikhar’s home and car dur­ing raids by po­lice in south Manch­ester ear­lier this year.

Of­fi­cers also found printed busi­ness cards, plas­tic bags and hooded tops ad­ver­tis­ing his il­le­gal busi­ness with the moniker ‘Manch­ester Gas Man.’

A Manch­ester Crown Court hear­ing was told he sold the drug to stu­dents from his home in Fal­low­field – in the heart of stu­dent land.

The 31-year-old was sen­tenced yes­ter­day af­ter plead­ing guilty to pos­sess­ing more than 40,000 units of ni­trous ox­ide with in­tent to sup­ply at the same court in Au­gust.

Iftikhar was sen­tenced to 10 months in prison, sus­pended for 12 months.

He was also given a com­mu­nity or­der with a re­quire­ment to com­plete 220 hours of un­paid work.

Greater Manch­ester Po­lice ex­e­cuted a war­rant at his home in Jan­uary.

They seized 41,400 ni­trous ox­ide can­is­ters from the house, as well as a fur­ther 6,500 can­is­ters dis­cov­ered in his car the fol­low­ing month.

Ni­trous ox­ide, which is also known as ‘laugh­ing gas,’ is a chem­i­cal gas be­ing used in­creas­ingly as a cheap recre­ational drug.

It was banned un­der the Psy­choac­tive Sub­stances Act 2016.

Brett Ger­rity, from the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice, said Iftikar orig­i­nally de­nied sell­ing the can­is­ters af­ter the law changed.

He said: “Zubair Iftikar was deal­ing in large amounts of ni­trous ox­ide from his home which was sit­u­ated in the cen­tre of Manch­ester Univer­sity stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“Even af­ter the change in leg­is­la­tion he sold the drugs to lo­cal stu­dents. He had tens of thou­sands of can­is­ters in his house and car as well as pro­mo­tional items ad­ver­tis­ing them.

“He ini­tially de­nied that he had con­tin­ued to sell the can­is­ters af­ter the law had changed but once faced with the over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence against him, he pleaded guilty to the charges he faced.”

Laugh­ing gas is usu­ally in­haled with the aid of bal­loons and can leave users feel­ing eu­phoric and re­laxed or cause them to ex­pe­ri­ence hal­lu­ci­na­tions.

There is also a risk of death as a lack of oxy­gen can oc­cur when us­ing ni­trous ox­ide.

More than 40,000 laugh­ing gas can­is­ters were found in Zubair Iftikhar’s home in Fal­low­field

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