A MAN accused of being involved in the plot to murder his friend told police he was an informant when he was arrested.

Noza Saffari had been doing some handyman work for Hemwand Ali Hussain for a few years before the 'gangland' style execution.

The father-of-two was blasted to the head at point blank ranged with a sawn-off shotgun when he was a lured to potential cannabis farm site on Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool, in September 2019.

Saffari is alleged to have played a role in luring the 'professional' cannabis farmer to his death, Teesside Crown Court heard.

During cross examination, the defendant accepted he knew Mr Hussain was involved in criminality.

Saffari claimed that he had taken police on a tour of cannabis farms across Middlesbrough and was an informant for the police.

When asked if that was true, he replied: "Yes."

Three other men, Anxelo Xhaferi, Dorian Pirija and Qazim Marku, are also on trial for the murder of Mr Hussain.

CCTV footage and forensic analysis was used by detectives to identify the men involved in the conspiracy to murder Mr Hussain, including images of Saffari getting into Mr Hussain's 4x4 when he arrived in Hartlepool.

Saffari, 39, of Park Lane, Middlesbrough; Anxelo Xhaferi, 24, of Acton Street, Middlesbrough; 33-year-old Dorian Pirija, of Trillo Avenue, Bolton; and Qazim Marku, 24, of West Drayton, all deny murder.