Forest Gate dealer facing jail over weapons haul

Cash also found in raid on ‘secret room’

A drug dealer who hoarded thousands of pounds worth of cocaine and guns in a secret room is facing jail.

Syed Hussain, 31, stored �6,000 worth of the drug with a semi-automatic converted Baikal pistol and silencer, a sawn-off shotgun and 20 bullets, in the ‘corridor-style’ cubbyhole.

More than �1,600 in cash and a quantity of heroin was also seized from the room in Claremont Road, Forest Gate, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Police used covert surveillance to track Hussain’s movements and the location of the hideout, where he was spotted on 14 separate occasions.

Officers discovered the key to the utility room after raiding Hussain’s two-bed flat in Chingford, on March 15 this year.

A further 60 grams of cocaine, worth an estimated �3,000, and nine self-sealed bags of cannabis were also recovered, as well as eight mobile phones and an additional �1,600.

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“The utility room had quite clearly been designed to be used by the occupant of the flat next door but that’s not how it was being used,” said prosecutor Catherine Farrelly. The door connecting the utility room to the flat next door was locked and bolted and there was a fridge in the way of the door.”

“Within it (the cupboard) they found a handgun with a magazine clip with eight loaded cartridges.They also found a silencer designer to be used with the handgun and 12 further rounds of ammunition. Police also found a laptop case with a sawn-off shotgun and three shotgun cartridges.”

The drugs, together with paraphernalia including scales and cutting agent Benzocaine, were also found.

Ms Farrelly added: “There could be no possible lawful reason for anyone to have these items. It’s clear that they were the tools of a serious and organised drug supply operation.”

Jurors heard that only two other people had a key to the utility room – the landlord and another tenant, Iqbal Tariq, who police have been unable to trace.

In a prepared statement, Hussain told police the cocaine and cannabis found at his home address had “nothing to do with drug dealing.” He also insisted the �1,600 was a loan from his brother.

Of the drugs and weapons found in the utility room, he maintained they had “absolutely nothing to do with him” and denied having anything to do with the cupboard.

Ms Farrelly said: “He was seen going to that exact room the night before all these things were found there and he had a set of keys with him.”

Hussain was convicted by the jury of two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing ammunition without a certificate, possessing an altered firearm without a certificate, and two further counts of possessing Class A drugs with intent.

He had admitted possessing cocaine and cannabis at his home address but insisted it was not with intent to supply.