A TAXI driver who dealt drugs from his vehicle to boost his income has been jailed for 21 months.

Iftiqar Ali, who had been a licensed cabbie since 2017, was caught with a £10,570 stash of the Class C sleeping pill type drugs, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Ali, 52, had Diazapam tablets in his hand after he was stopped by the police on Shay Lane in Halifax on February 28 last year.

A search of his home turned up a stash of Diazapam, Etizolam and Tamazepam, prosecutor Imran Khan told the court.

Ali, of Frank Street, Halifax, pleaded guilty to three offences of possessing Class C drugs with intent to supply.

Mr Khan said his taxi was pulled over by the police at 7.45pm because intelligence had been received that he may be drug dealing.

Ali’s hand had to be prised open to reveal the tablets and he shouted to another taxi driver in a language the police officers did not understand. Cash to the value of £530 was found in the vehicle.

Ali had 14 previous convictions for 33 offences. They were driving offences and matters of dishonesty, the court heard, and all were many years ago.

His barrister, Shufqat Khan said the father-of-three was deeply ashamed and regretful about what he had done.

Ali had been a drug user in the past but he had rid himself of the addiction by 2007 with the help of his supportive family. But he was left with anxiety and panic attacks and turned to prescribed sleeping pills instead.

From 2010, he could no longer get them from his doctor so he sourced them himself, Mr Khan said. That meant he knew how to obtain them to supply to others.

Ali had been a taxi driver since 2017 but that employment was now lost to him. He was a hard-working man and had obtained new work packing at a factory.

He had caused his family great distress by his actions and had left home as a consequence, Mr Khan said.

Recorder Taryn Turner told Ali it was a very serious matter that called for immediate custody.

He was dealing in drugs as a sideline because he wasn’t making enough money from taxi driving.

“Members of the public were exposed to the risk of you offering to supply them with drugs,” Recorder Turner said.

Ali’s passengers would have included elderly and vulnerable people and children.

“The court is disgusted and horrified,” Recorder Turner said.

She set a Proceeds of Crime Act timetable to decide how much Ali benefited from his drug dealing.