A Chorley businessman has been charged with supplying class A drugs worth up to £50,000.
Steven Ball, who runs Chorley Bottle Gas, has been remanded in custody after being found with almost half a kilo of cocaine.
The 43-year-old, whose business supplies pubs, clubs, restaurants, councils, schools, colleges and also the police, was also found in possession of CS gas spray and has been charged with assaulting an officer.
He has appeared before Chorley Magistrates’ Court and his case has been sent to Liverpool Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on September 10.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “Steven Ball has been charged with three offences – supplying 498 grams of cocaine, a controlled class A drug, the possession of a weapon designed for the discharge of gas, namely CS gas, and assaulting a police officer with the intent to resist or prevent arrest.”
Mr Ball has run Chorley Bottle Gas for up to 10 years.
The family business is a major supplier of helium to the public and trade organisations and provides gas to licensed premises.
It is also the main agent for Air Liquide UK in the Chorley, Preston, Bolton and Wigan area and deals in industrial gases.
The firm, which continues to operate, recently expanded into balloons and party goods and moved from its former premises in Coppull to an old Methodist Church in Market Street, Adlington.
The move was part of a £700,000 deal to buy the former premises of Naylor and Walkden Ltd after it went into administration in 2012.
A spokesman for Chorley Bottle Gas said: “The business is still running as usual.
“The reason Steve has
been arrested is nothing to do with the operations of Chorley Bottle Gas and as far as we are concerned it’s business as usual.”
Mr Ball, of Chorley Road, was arrested in Wrightington on May 14.
He had his application for bail refused.