Dealer had 40,000 laughing gas bottles
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