A DRUG dealer and his driver have both been jailed after police saw them dealing heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Keighley.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Khalid Azam and Christopher Shepherd were caught after police surveillance showed them making repeated visits to Azam’s home and then driving around the Keighley area over three days in December 2022.

Prosecutor Eleanor Durdy said Azam, 41, of Edensor Road in Keighley, would be seen getting into 35-year-old Shepherd’s car, which would leave and return later. Azam would then get out and return to the rear yard of his home in Edensor Road.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

She told the court that Azam would remain in the rear yard for a few minutes and then come out and get back into the car. This pattern would be repeated several times with the pair seen in a car on Edensor Road, Back Ada Street, and Devonshire Street West.

She said this was an example of Azam “reloading” his drug supply with Shepherd and then driving him to a drug user whom Azam would then supply.

She said by operating in this manner only a small amount of drugs was carried at any one time.

When police went to Azam’s address they searched his home and strip searched him.

Inside wheelie bins in the yard of the house, they found plastic bags containing knotted white packages of heroin and cocaine with an estimated value of £2,200.

When mobile phones were seized and analysed they showed more than 500 texts and calls between the pair over a two-month period - with some focusing on the presence of the drug squad in the area - as they participated in what was described as “low-level street supply”.

Miss Durdy said: “Azam was the person with the drugs, obtaining them, and moving them around. Shepherd was the transportation.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Christopher ShepherdChristopher Shepherd (Image: West Yorkshire Police)

At their trial both men pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a class A drug, both crack cocaine and heroin.

Mitigating for Azam, Abdul Shakoor said his involvement was due to a drug debt and that “some pressure was brought to bear to supply the drugs” as “he needed to pay the money back”.

At trial Shepherd, of Grange Crescent, Riddlesden, said he did not receive money but instead was given cocaine to feed his spiralling addiction.

Mitigating for Shepherd, Lauren Smith said his had been a limited role that involved driving Azam around as he conducted transactions.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Crown CourtBradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

In jailing Azam for four years and three months, and Shepherd for three years and seven months, Mr Recorder Abdul Iqbal KC said both men played “a significant role” in the multiple supply of controlled drugs over several days.

He said: “It was plain that class A controlled drugs were being sold at street level on a regular basis by both of you.

“You were both involved.”

The pair were brought to justice following an operation launched by Bradford’s Precision Team launched into county lines offences in Keighley.

It was supported with funding by the National County Lines Coordination Centre.  

Detective Inspector Helen Chapman of Bradford’s Precision Team said:  “Illegal drugs will not be tolerated in our communities and this operation and investigation demonstrates that we will target those who are involved in drug dealing and organised crimes. 

“Programme Precision is dedicated to tackling the activities of serious organised criminals and those who are involved in the supply of drugs and serious violence. 

“We work with local Neighbourhood Policing Teams and partners to make the streets safer. 

“I would like to thank the local community who provide us with intelligence, so we are able to target and disrupt those associated with this criminal trade.”