From cannabis to fireworks

Trading standards' Paul Bannister
Trading standards' Paul Bannister

A convicted drug dealer was back in the dock after selling fireworks illegally.

Naeem Asghar (43), of Church Street, Newarthill, was jailed for six years in 2012 after he was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

The businessman was stopped in his works van in Bellshill after meeting two men from England. Cannabis worth £1.2 million was seized and police branded Asghar a “key member” of a drugs gang.

He appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court last week when he admitted supplying fireworks without a licence to undercover trading standards officers at Draffen Tower, Motherwell, and in Carluke in 2015. He also admitted selling fireworks outside of the permitted sales period and without displaying a statutory warning notice.

Sheriff Vincent Smith deferred sentence until December for good behaviour, but since Asghar is still on licence after his early release from the six-year sentence he could be recalled to prison.

Paul Bannister, trading standards manager for North Lanarkshire Council, stressed the dangers of illegal fireworks.

He said: “These offences came to light after diligent work by trading standards officers. The unlicensed selling of fireworks means that safety issues with regards to storage and supply, that would be tested and examined by my officers, could not be carried out. This could have put the safety of the community at risk.”