A TOWN centre snooker hall used as a cover for a drug supplying business had cocaine stuffed into tables used by its customers.

Sniffer dogs discovered the high purity drug during a raid at Frames Snooker Club in Accrington.

More of the drug and ecstasy tablets were found in a vending machine.

When police checked the hall’s CCTV they saw cousins Arshad Khan, 40, and Abid Khan, 27, bagging up the drugs ready for sale.

Their failure to turn off their own surveillance equipment and instead get caught red handed prompted one of their barristers to tell Burnley Crown Court: “It’s like something off Britain's Dumbest Criminal.”

The court was told the pair used the club for drugs after the business began to fail a few months after they started it.

The hearing was told officers raided the club, then leased by the defendants after their families put money in to start it up last April, in October. They found cocaine worth £11,500.

The drugs were taken out of the hall either by the defendants or others, to be sold on the streets.

Arshad Khan, of James Street, Haslingden, and his co-defendant, of Langroyd Road, Colne, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, between last June and October and possessing ecstasy. They were jailed for three-and-a-half years each and now face a proceeds of crime hearing.

Kimberley Obrusik, prosecuting, said Abid Khan's fingerprints had been found on a bag with traces of cocaine on it seized from a car in June.

Khan's house in Colne was searched on October 21, he was arrested and police found a safe with £3,400 in cash and £270 in his jeans, along with a bag of cocaine.

Miss Obrusik said officers went to Frames the next day and behind the counter found bulking agents, a lot of snap bags, a teaspoon and digital scales in a carrier bag.

Drugs dogs went into the premises and located a second Tesco carrier bag, containing 55.3 grams of cocaine, further scales, a dish and a spoon in a snooker table. A box containing £1,805 cash was behind the counter.

An empty vending machine in the reception area held 28 snap bags of cocaine and 72 ecstasy tablets.

The prosecutor said: "Police officers saw deals on the CCTV amounting to street sized deals, as well as larger amounts amounts split up for deals believed to be for suppliers' drugs."

"It's the Crown's position this business was used as a cover and a facilitator for the supply of drugs."

Both defendants were questioned after arrest and made no comment.

Arshad Khan had 16 offences on his record and his co-defendant had six previous offences.

Tim Storrie, for Arshad Khan,said he committed the offence to earn money to shore up his failing business.

The barrister said: "It was a foolish idea. He had involved himself in taking cocaine and he was using between £50 and £100 worth a day."

Defending Abid Khan, Philip Holden said he literally got his hands dirty, bagging up drugs at the snooker hall.

He said: "It's like something off Britain's Dumbest Criminal. It's bizarre, almost, that people who are running this sort of enterprise would allow the CCTV still to be running."

Mr Holden described the defendant as a ‘promising, intelligent, articulate young man, who has fallen from grace’.

Sentencing, Recorder Nigel Grundy told the defendants: "I accept the snooker club was first started as a legitimate business enterprise. It soon became clear to both of you that was failing and you chose to supplement your income significantly by engaging in what can properly be described as a drug street dealing operation."

"I accept that to some extent the operation was naive in that you kept the CCTV on when you were performing those activities, but that may simply be you were so arrogant you never thought you were going to be caught."