Quantities of cash and drugs were found on the driver of a car routinely stopped by police on a city centre road, a court heard.

An officer pulled over Ahmed Osman, who was driving the Volkswagen Polo on Claypath, Durham, on November 6, 2021.

Durham Crown Court was told that as the officer began speaking to Osman he became aware of the smell of cannabis from within the car.

A search uncovered small plastic snap bags in a leather wallet also containing a large number of notes in £10 and £20 denominations.

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The defendant was taken to Durham City Police Station where he was further searched and more quantities of cash and grip bags were discovered, some in his underwear.

Dr Chris Wood, prosecuting, said in all £870 in notes were recovered, plus 37 bags containing cocaine deals worth a total of £1,850 and six bags of ketamine, with a street value of £180.

Three phones which were also seized were examined by police and found to contain messages indicative of drug dealing.

Dr Wood said the exchanges on two of the phones appeared to reflect Osman acting under instruction, “from above”, while the other suggested smaller scale supply on his part to people he knew, “without third-party involvement”.

When interviewed, Osman gave “no comment” replies, but he was subsequently bailed pending further inquiries.

The court heard that while on bail Osman followed a woman into a Spar convenience store in the centre of his home city of Manchester, shortly after midnight on April 24, last year.

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Dr Wood said the woman was aware of him apparently following her as she left the premises, having bought a packet of cigarettes.

She then felt someone trying to pull her bag away from her, but she clung on and was dragged to the ground and along the road for a short distance, before Osman released his grip.

The woman was left unhurt but was shaken by the ordeal and embarrassed by what had taken place.

Dr Wood said Osman was identified by police at the scene and when stopped gave the name, ‘Ali Osman’, claiming to be from Germany.

His real identity soon emerged and he was charged with an offence of attempted robbery.

The 25-year-old defendant, of Heaton Moor, Manchester, admitted possessing class A and C drugs (cocaine and ketamine), with intent to supply, at a previous appearance before magistrates, and attempted robbery when he came before the crown court at a plea hearing.

He appeared back at the crown court for sentencing, via video link from prison in Liverpool, where he has been on remand.

David Jones, in mitigation, said the defendant was “pressured or coerced” into selling drugs due to the debts he built up to dealers from his own use of cocaine.

He described the bag snatch as an “opportunistic” crime akin to an attempted theft, and was not completed.

But he said Osman, who has six sisters, is aware of the distress he must have caused to the lone female victim, adding that it was, “out of character” for him.

Recorder Tom Moran said it was more serious than that due to the trauma suffered by the complainant in the case in managing to cling onto her bag.

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He said she is now fearful of being out alone at night, in the aftermath of the incident.

Recorder Moran said he had to sentence the drugs offences on the basis that some of the dealing involved the defendant “acting under instruction” and a lesser element was selling to others on his own behalf.

He imposed custodial prison sentences totalling 41 months and ordered forfeiture of the drugs and money recovered by police in Durham.