Two men jailed after the Bradford “grooming trial” will have to spend more time behind bars after they were caught red-handed trying to smuggle drugs and phones into prison “under the judge’s nose.”

Naveed Akhtar and Fahim Iqbal were thwarted trying to exchange cannabis resin, skunk cannabis, the heroin substitute Subutex, miniature mobile phones and Sim cards to smuggle into Leeds Prison.

Akhtar, 44, of Newport Place, Manningham, Bradford, and Iqbal, 28, of Quarry Road, West Town, Dewsbury, were spotted by a sharp-eyed dock officer committing the offences while the trial was running in open court.

Today, Akhtar, who is serving 17 years for two offences of rape, and Iqbal, jailed for seven years for a charge of aiding and abetting rape, were back at Bradford Crown Court to each receive five months imprisonment to run consecutively.

Each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and the class C drug Buprenorphine (Subutex) and to bring three miniature mobile phones, with chargers, and ten Sim cards into the prison.

Prosecutor Adam Birkby said the “grooming trial” was running on February 4 when Akhtar, who was on bail, spent 20 minutes in the toilet behind the dock.

Iqbal, who was in custody serving a jail sentence for unauthorised possession of phones in prison, then went to use the toilet.

But a dock officer became suspicious and found a package in the toilet roll dispenser.

After a letter about the find was sent to the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, who was trying the case, Akhtar tried to pass more contraband to another defendant, Kieran Harris.


Mr Birkby said Akhtar told Harris: “Grab this for me,” and thrust a package under his seat in the dock, hidden among court paperwork.

Harris, who refused to have anything to do with the handover, then raised the alarm.

It was stated that Iqbal threatened Harris in the dock: “Motherf***er, you’re dead.”

Mr Birkby said that cannabis with a street value of £68 was found in the dock, along with a mobile phone and charger and ten Subutex tablets. In the toilet roll holder were six Subutex tablets, two phones with chargers and ten Sim cards.

Mr Birkby told the court the street value of the drugs would be significantly higher if they were sold on in prison.

When the trial was halted while the police investigated, Akhtar told them he was being “set up” while Iqbal made no comment.

Akhtar had previous convictions for possession with intent to supply cannabis, the court was told. Iqbal had committed offences of violence and dangerous driving in the past.

Andrew Dallas, Iqbal’s barrister, said it was widely known on his prison wing that he was the only defendant coming to court for the trial from custody. He was promised “a few grams” of cannabis for taking part in the plot.

“It was an ill thought out and doomed plan,” Mr Dallas said.

Iqbal would be linked immediately to the package because he was the only one in custody.

“How he was going to get it into prison is another interesting matter,” Mr Dallas said.

Iqbal was very stressed at the time by the trial and saw an opportunity to get cannabis for himself. He apologised to the judge for committing the offence in his court and denied making any threat to Harris.

Robin Frieze, for Akhtar, agreed with Judge Jonathan Durham Hall that a five month addition to his sentence was a fair outcome.

Judge Durham Hall labelled the offences “remarkably stupid.”

“Under the very noses of the dock officers and, indeed myself, although I was oblivious to it,” he stated.

“How on earth, Mr Iqbal, you thought you would get this back into Armley, I do not know. It was remarkably stupid and very serious. It was also an appalling distraction during the trial, which had to be adjourned for the police to investigate.”