A man became involved in a major drugs conspiracy after being “swayed by the charisma of a sophisticated criminal”, a court has heard.

Corey Larkman, 31, had been storing cocaine and heroin at his home which he then “bashed” and helped move on at the behest of Farnworth based gang leader, 39-year-old Zulfiqar Khan.

Khan and his associates were handed lengthy sentences last week with Larkman brought back before Bolton Crown Court after disputing part of his role in the conspiracy.

Jamie Baxter, prosecuting, said: “Perhaps to put it another way, he was at the lower end of this conspiracy.

“But it was a conspiracy which was very significant indeed.”

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Baxter told the court that Larkman, of Manchester Road, Kearsley, had still played a “significant role” in the Khan-led conspiracy and that he expected a financial reward for his crimes.

His role came to an end after police raided his home in December 2021 and found 2.7kg of heroin and cocaine.

Larkman pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and another two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs at a much earlier stage than Khan and the others.

But he disputed just how important his role was to the overarching conspiracy at a trial of issue.

Larkman admitted he had been involved and said he had known Khan, of Lorne Street, Farnworth, from his membership of a gym who asked him to hold “stuff.”

He then said he weighed at his home simply because he wanted to know how much there was and did not want to be blamed by the gang if there appeared to less than they claimed.

The 31-year-old Kearsley man also claimed that he had taken notes that appeared to “develop over time” after Khan told him to write things down over the phone.

But the court ruled that his explanation “lacked honesty and candour” and that he would be dealt with on the case the prosecution had recommended.

Sean Sullivan, defending, argued that Larkman still deserved credit for his guilty plea and pointed out that he had never been involved in crime before.

He told the court Larkman had previously been a “man of good character”, known for being “industrious and law abiding.”

Mr Sullivan said: “One thing that is clear is that his involvement in this was completely out of character.”

He added: “This question is what went through his head to get himself involved with Mr Zulfiqar Khan?”

Mr Sullivan said that Larkman had been “swayed by the charisma of a sophisticated criminal” when he became involved in Khan’s conspiracy.

He also pointed to a report that showed a “likely diagnosis” that Larkman had been suffering from functional adjustment disorder at the time, which impaired his judgement and led him to commit “questionable actions.”

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But Judge Nicholas Clarke KC reminded the court of the hugely serious drugs plot that the defendant had been involved in.

He also pointed out that the conspiracy had been intended to go on for far longer than it did before it was stopped by an “elaborate” police investigation.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Clarke said: “It’s clear that there had been drugs passing through your hands which you adulterated and passed on to those who allowed you to store them as part of an ongoing conspiracy.”

He sentenced Larkman to a total of eight years and nine months in prison.