The owner of a Bradford car hire firm has been jailed for almost eight years after a judge ruled he was involved a series of drugs transactions.

Suhail Akhtar, who was a partner in First Stop Car Hire in Leeds Road, was arrested along with several other men following a major police surveillance operation to tackle drug dealing in the Bradford Moor area in 2004.

The 28-year-old, who was jailed for four years in 2000 for supplying drugs to an undercover officer, was yesterday sent back to prison after Judge Peter Benson dismissed his claims that he had only been involved in one drugs transaction.

Akhtar, of Maidstone Street, Bradford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin, but only on the basis that he had passed on a consignment of the drug valued at £6,000 to a Keighley schoolboy in April, 2004.

Bradford Crown Court heard last week how Akhtar Hussain, who was just 16 at the time and in his school uniform, was caught by police taking the heroin back to Keighley in a taxi.

The prosecution alleged Suhail Akhtar had been involved in three similar transactions in March and April, 2004, but he claimed telephone contact with other co-conspirators was simply to do with his legitimate business dealings or social activities.

After a hearing lasting two days Judge Peter Benson ruled yesterday that Akhtar had been involved in other heroin transactions and described his explanations as incredible.

In addition to the heroin conspiracy the court heard Akhtar had also played a role in a bizarre attempt to smuggle cannabis and steroids into Ashwell Prison in Leicestershire.

Prosecutor Adrian Dent said the drugs, which would have a high value in prison, were intended for an associate serving a long sentence for drugs importation.

The drugs were put inside two taped-up tennis balls which the conspirators hoped would be thrown over the perimeter fence.

But the plan was uncovered as part of the police surveillance operation and when the balls were thrown into the prison in January, 2004, they landed between two fences and were recovered by security staff. On Tuesday, First Stop employee Majid Hussain, 28, of Mond Avenue, Bradford Moor, received a 12-month suspended sentence for his part in that conspiracy after he admitted taking the balls to Leicestershire.

Akhtar was sentenced to six and a half years in jail for the heroin conspiracy with a further 16 months for the conspiracy to import the drugs into Ashwell jail.

The court heard from Akhtar's barrister John Jenkins that his client had acted a facilitator or broker between those with access to the heroin and those who were to distribute it in the Keighley area.

Judge Benson was handed documents outlining Akhtar's charity work in connection with the earthquake disaster in Pakistan.