Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 13:05 UK

Ecstasy club owner and DJ jailed

Manoucehr Bahmanzadeh (l) and Tom Costelloe: Pic Irving of Exeter
Manoucehr Bahmanzadeh (l) and Tom Costelloe: Picture Irving of Exeter

A Plymouth nightclub owner who allowed the "rampant and blatant" sale of ecstasy at his club has been jailed.

Iranian-born Manoucehr Bahmanzadeh, 52, earned up to 2m a year from the Dance Academy, one of the largest clubs in Plymouth, Devon, a court heard.

Bahmanzadeh was sentenced to nine years at Plymouth Crown Court. Club DJ and general manager Tom Costelloe, 37, from Honiton was also jailed for five years.

Both were found guilty of allowing the sale of the class A drug.

The court was told undercover police officers deployed at the former club, in Union Street, between December 2005 and May 2006 found that the sale and consumption of ecstasy was "rampant" and dealing was "overt and blatant".

Battering rams

During the operation, 16 drug dealers were caught and jailed for a total of 27 years.

The jury was told drug takers were often found lying on the floor of the Union Street club and ambulances could be called out two or three times each night.

In May 2006, 140 police in riot gear stormed the club, using battering rams to force their way in to confront 200 club goers.

Police then used powers to close down the club which had a capacity of 1,300 people.

Bahmanzadeh had claimed he stood up to the dealers, while Costelloe claimed to have helped enforce a zero-tolerance policy to drugs.

A third man, Nezan Ahmed, who was head doorman at the club, failed to appear in court. He is thought to have fled to Iraq.

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