A BUISNESSMAN accused of being a major drugs boss has told a jury that he was advised by his solicitor to remain silent when questioned by police.

Irtiza Bashir drove a Bentley with private number plates, lived in one detached Lostock house rented by his firm and had bought another, worth more than £1 million on Chorley New Road.

Bashir, aged 45, claims to have funded his lavish lifestyle as a result of running the successful Haslingden-based Globe Recycling Services Ltd, which collects and exports used tyres.

But police believe he is a key player among drug dealers, conspiring to import millions of pounds worth of drugs into the country and they allege he is the person using the handle ‘Weststreet’, discovered when they uncovered information from the encrypted EncroChat messaging system. 'Weststreet' was used EncroChat to organised his drug-dealing operation.

Bashir senies being 'Weststreet' and when he was arrested following a raid on his home on December 16 last year, did not answer police questions.

“You were frightened because you believed, at the time, that your account would not hold water,” Neil Fryman told Bashir, who was giving evidence in his own defence at Bolton Crown Court for a second day.

Bashir denied this, stating that he only remained quiet because that was what he was advised to do.

Mr Fryman questioned Bashir about where the money came from to fund his high spending, which includes the purchase of designer clothes, luxury cars and homes.

Bashir stressed that he would buy cars, such as his £210,000 Bentley, and then sell them on at a profit and, although he was only paid a £10,000 salary from his business, he received dividend payments and director’s loans in cash as well.

Bashir denies conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, conspiracy to import cocaine and cannabis and conspiracy to launder criminal cash.

The trial continues.