Property magnate Nicholas Hoogstraten dealt with problem tenants by sending round "hefty builders" and German shepherd dogs, he told a jury.

The millionaire said he found it amusing when, on one occasion, "hippies" were forced to jump from second-storey windows to escape the dogs.

Hoogstraten said he was given "carte blanche" by senior police officers to rid Hove of drugs in the mid-Eighties.

He said the centre of Hove was his "pride and joy" and he wanted dealers and addicts moved to Brighton "where there was a much lower class of occupant".

The tycoon was giving evidence for the fourth day in the Mohammed Raja murder trial in which he is accused of hiring two hit men to assassinate Mr Raja.

Yesterday, Hoogstraten was cross-examined by prosecutor David Waters about his method for sorting out tenancy disputes.

Hoogstraten said: "In the middle Eighties the police complained to me about a number of drug-related incidents. They were effectively trying to say a lot of these people were living in my properties.

"Eventually I had a meeting with someone high up in the police and I said 'I can deal with this'.

"Over a period of weeks all the problem occupants were identified.

"We started this policy sending three or four people round to each problem flat saying 'We are not having any more of this here and you are moving'.

"If you sent one person round, they would not take any notice. We had some pretty hefty builders working for us."

Mr Waters asked: "If they did not go voluntarily they would have to go physically. Is that right?"

Hoogstraten said: "I don't think they would suffer violence. That is not necessary with drug dealers and drug addicts. On those occasions we sent in a couple of dogs."

Earlier, the court heard Hoogstraten offered Bradford and Bingley Building Society money in 1995 to start bankruptcy proceedings against Mr Raja, whom he described as a " major fraudster".

Mr Waters said Hoogstraten admitted taking it "very, very personally" if people did unacceptable things to him.

Hoogstraten, 57, replied, as far as he was concerned, everything with Mr Raja was "done and dusted in the early Nineties".

Hoogstraten, of High Cross Estate, near Uckfield, is accused of hiring two hit men to kill Mr Raja in July 1999 at his home in Surrey.

Hoogstraten, 57, denies murder and conspiracy to murder.

David Croke, 59, of Bolney Road, Brighton, and Robert Knapp, 53, of Convent Street, Abbeyfeale, County Limerick, deny murder.

The trial continues.