Manchester

Manchester teacher who led drugs gang jailed

Mohammad Sarwar
Image caption Mohammad Sarwar was an IT teacher at Burnage Media Arts College

A Manchester teacher who led a double life as the mastermind behind a drugs gang has been jailed for 21 years.

Mohammad Sarwar, 30, of Withington, was convicted for conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine in March.

The IT teacher at Burnage Media Arts College headed a gang which bought large quantities of pure cocaine for sale across Manchester.

He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court alongside six others also convicted of drugs offences.

A seventh will be sentenced next month.

The court heard how Sarwar was known as "The Teacher" to his crime gang, and instructed others on how to evade detection.

Detective Inspector Chris Packer, from Greater Manchester Police's organised crime Xcalibre unit, said: "He co-ordinated everything and took his cut, but did not want to get his hands dirty and rarely went anywhere near the drugs.

"He was a teacher employed in a position of trust and responsible for educating young people.

"He had a duty of care to all his pupils to set them on the right path as they become adults.

"However, by masterminding a drugs network, he abused his position and set the worst sort of example possible."

Jail supply

No significant quantities of drugs were ever seized by police.

The jury at the trial heard how Sarwar and his gang were involved in a conspiracy to supply cannabis to inmates at HMP Forest Bank in Salford.

Robert Hart, a former guard at the prison, was involved in smuggling the drugs inside.

The 37-year-old, of Goulder Street, Gorton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs and was jailed for 16 months.

Leanne Bryan, 27, of Smedley Street, Blackley, was convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and also pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and possession of a class B drug with intent to supply at an earlier hearing.

She was jailed for 11 years and four months.

Leigh Mensah, 24, of Rawpool Gardens, Royal Oak, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for five years.

Mark Hunt, 29, of HMP Forest Bank, admitted conspiracy to supply class B drugs and was jailed for 20 months.

Nicola Whitehead, 33, of Sykes Street, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs and was jailed for eight months.

Andrew Harrison, 43, of HMP Forest Bank, admitted conspiracy to supply class B drugs and was jailed for eight months.

Ben Davidson, 24, of Stocks Lane, Stalybridge, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

He will be sentenced on 9 May.

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