A CONVICTED drug dealer is planning to sue Greater Manchester police after an officer carried out an illegal search following a motoring incident in Crompton Way.

Gary Knox brought in top barristers Anthony Barraclough and Ian McMeekin to defend him when he stood trial at Bolton Magistrates Court yesterday accused of failing to stop his car under police instruction and assaulting a police officer.

But the case was dismissed after Mr Barraclough told the court that the officer had failed to give Mr Knox his name and the police station where he is based before carrying out a search.

Zoe Salter, prosecuting, told magistrates that in September 30 last year a tree blew down blocking part of Crompton Way.

PC Lee Ganley and another officer were directing traffic when, just before 11pm, 37-year-old Knox, driving a silver Nissan Micra, failed to stop despite the officers making hand signals.

He said Knox drove straight towards him, only moving onto the opposite carriageway at the last second.

PC Ganley said he jumped into a police car, following the Nissan towards Tonge Moor where he blocked Knox’s car.

Knox, who was driving, turned off his engine but PC Ganley said he smelled cannabis coming from the open driver’s window and decided to handcuff him while he carried out a search. The prosecution claimed Knox, of Adrian Road, Halliwell, became aggressive, trying to push past PC Ganley and injuring his shoulder before the officer sprayed him with CS gas and forced him to the ground.

Knox claimed in interview that he had been following another vehicle and, in the darkness, thought he was being allowed past the fallen tree by the officers.

At the time Knox was on licence from prison, part-way through a six-year sentence for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Because PC Ganley had not carried out the search legally, the prosecution offered no evidence against Knox on the assault charge and decided it was not in the public interest to continue with a trial on the lesser motoring offence.

Mr Barraclough told magistrates Knox had “suffered terribly” as a result of the incident, being recalled to prison and spending a further 28 days behind bars.

“This man was gassed. He was in agony. He was put face down in the street and handcuffed to the extent that, on a poor police video, you can see bruises on his wrist,” he said.

The cost of yesterday’s case was several thousand pounds which will now be funded by the taxpayer.