An ex-pharmacy manager who plotted with a drug dealer to supply London with a drug drink known as ‘lean’ has been jailed.

Shamil Amin, 34, was working as a pharmacy manager at two pharmacies - one in Croydon and another in Horsham - when police said he began illegally selling pharmaceuticals, predominantly codeine, through a chain of supply to 26-year-old Daniel Tillyard.

Surrey Police said Mr Tillyard used the products he was sold by Mr Amin to make lean - a syrup-based opioid drink typically made from a cocktail of substances, including codeine and promethazine.

The drink is sold in 4oz and 8oz bottles and is highly addictive. The resulting product is classified as a class A drug when containing morphine and a class B drug when containing codeine.

A police statement said that in 2020, Mr Tillyard began dealing directly with Mr Amin, in a bid to turn his production of lean into a business called Zillaceuticals, with the aim of being the sole supplier across London.

Police reported that during proceedings at Guildford Crown Court, drug experts said the risk of complications from digesting lean, such as respiratory issue, organ damage and even death, were higher with Mr Tillyard’s products, as he often replaced the base ingredient of codeine with morphine.

Detectives came across text messages between Mr Tillyard and Mr Amin discussing their drug deals and aspirations during a separate investigation into drug supply in Surrey.

On May 17, Mr Amin, from Croydon, was sentenced to two years and five months’ imprisonment, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs.

Mr Tillyard, from London’s Tower Hamlets, was sentenced to six years and nine months’ imprisonment, after pleading guilty to six counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, four counts of conspiracy to supply class B drugs and two counts of conspiracy to supply class C drugs.

In November last year, a Birmingham pharmacist was removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register for supplying over an estimated £1 million worth of prescription drugs on the black market.