TWO men were today jailed for their roles in a major drugs plot that saw the police seize a kilo of high purity cocaine worth up to £81,000 after keeping observation on a van in Bradford.

Nathanial Fulton, 31, of Halifax Road, Bingley, was imprisoned for four and a half years at Bradford Crown Court.

Faiq Mahmood, 24, of Rayner Avenue, Girlington, Bradford, was locked up for three and a half years.

Both had pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to supply cocaine between September 27 and 29, 2017.

Mahmood also admitted possessing ecstasy and cannabis with intent to supply two years later in September, 2019.

Fulton pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and skunk cannabis with intent to supply, also in September, 2019.

Prosecutor Katherine Robinson said that the conspiracy case centred on a drugs transaction watched by a police surveillance team in Mortimer Street in Four Lane Ends on September 28, 2017.

Ashley Gibson, the ‘courier’ driving the Ford Transit Connect van, had already been jailed for five years at Leeds Crown Court for possession of cocaine with intent to supply it, Miss Robinson said.

He was arrested when the van was stopped by the police outside McDonald’s in Butt Lane, Farnley, and the kilo block of cocaine seized.

Mahmood was seen leaving Mortimer Street with a white carrier bag containing a large quantity of cash for the consignment of cocaine.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, said Mahmood was the courier and Fulton the ‘minder’ for the cocaine transaction. He was working as a doorman at the time and there to ensure a smooth handover.

They were both acting under direction and expected some reward for their involvement but played a lesser role in the drugs operation.

“I do not know why it took the police almost exactly two years after the event to arrest the pair of you. I suspect that a lack of resources may have contributed to this delay but whatever the reason it is a significant factor in your favour when I come to sentence you,” Judge Mansell said.

When the police searched Mahmood’s home in September, 2019, they found evidence that he was involved in street dealing MDMA (or ecstasy) and cannabis. A bag contain-ing an ounce of crystalline or pure ecstasy worth about £1,000 and numerous street deals of cannabis were recovered.

Also found were scales and a phone containing message threads relating to the supply of drugs, as well as photos of drugs and bundles of banknotes.

When Fulton was arrested, the police seized £300 cash, a receipt for a Rolex watch worth £12,000 and the watch itself, together with digital scales, a plastic box containing an ounce of cannabis and two bin liners containing eight ounces of cannabis with a street value of over £2,000.

From an Audi parked outside his house, they seized a bag containing 169g of cocaine with a street value of £12,680 and a further bin liner containing ten ounces of cannabis bush worth £2,870, as well as scales and a plastic mixing bowl A Ford Raptor vehicle contained one hundred MDMA tablets worth £1,000, a tinfoil wrap containing crystalline MDMA worth £180, a Louis Vuitton bag containing over £1,100 cash, and a black torch baton.

Judge Mansell told the defendants: “In truth, you are both very different men and living very different lives to those you were living in September, 2017, when you were involved in this drugs handover, and in September, 2019, when you were arrested and found to have been street dealing drugs.”

He directed that the lengthy period of time each of them had spent on bail on a qualify-ing curfew be factored in to reduce the time they will serve behind bars.

Judge Mansell said confiscation proceedings would follow in both cases.