Friday, May 15, 2015

British police detective 'stole £113,000 seized from suspected drug dealer

A retired detective accused of stealing £113,000 from a former police headquarters had mounting debts of more than £50,000, a court has heard.

Paul Greaves, 56, of Nottingham, is alleged to have taken the money from a locked exhibit store in the old wine cellar at Warwickshire Police's old base in Leek Wootton.

The prosecution told the court Greaves disguised paying the stolen cash into his own bank accounts by claiming he had enjoyed 'good luck on the horses'.

Simon Davis, for the prosecution, said his accounts showed deposits that 'could not be reasonably explained'.

When asked about the payments by police, Greaves supplied hundreds of bookmakers' betting slips, most of them winners, which in one case appeared to show a 34-race winning streak.

The Crown are to call an expert witness who has described the chances of such a winning run occurring as almost zero, alleging Greaves had been selective about his betting record.

'In a nutshell, the money going in couldn't be explained because he was losing more than he was winning,' said Mr Davis.

He added: 'Betting he did - no issue about that. He did bet. But he was a loser.'

He said it was the Crown's case Greaves came into a 'surplus of cash' in the weeks immediately after the money was seized on a police raid in June 2009.

Jurors were shown bank records charting payments of more than £30,000, used to pay off loans and credit cards.

The cash was initially found in a raid by a team of officers, including Greaves, on a Leicestershire farm during a drugs operation and later formally seized under the Proceeds Of Crime Act.

It was Greaves' job to be 'in charge of the money' as the team's financial investigator, but Mr Davis said he 'failed to follow proper procedures'.

A review of the police's national computer database, the joint asset recovery database into which the money should have been logged, later found no entry had ever been recorded, Mr Davis said.

Mr Davis, told Birmingham Crown Court today, said: 'You'll have to decide whether the state of his finances were such that they assist you in determining whether he took the cash.

'We don't have to prove a motive, but you might think, listening to what his finances were like that temptation - we say - must have got the better of him.'

After being seized, the cash was put in a red lock-box to which Greaves had the key and placed in the headquarters's exhibit store.

Mr Davis said none of Greaves' colleagues recall seeing the cash after it was placed in the box.

The loss of the money was only discovered in September 2011, nine months after Greaves had retired from the force, when it was due to be returned to its owners. Mr Davis said a search of the cellar found 'the cupboard was bare'.

Warwickshire Police, being liable for the cash, then had to pay back the money out of its own funds, and subsequently launched an anti-corruption investigation to find out whether the money had been stolen.

Mr Davis said that trail led investigators to the now retired officer, who was arrested in March 2013.

Mr Davis said a police expert carrying out a peer review of record-keeping found Greaves, an officer with almost 25 years' experience, had 'fallen well short of the standards expected of him'.

Investigators discovered he had borrowed thousands of pounds from friends and relatives and by 2008 he had spiralling debts of £52,000, the court heard.

Mr Davis said betting slips provided to police by Greaves showed an 'unrealistic' picture of his betting, including a 34-run winning streak.

An expert from the British Horseracing Authority calculated the odds of stringing together a run of up to 30 was 0.0001 per cent - in real terms a '0 per cent chance'.

'The money Mr Greaves could have made on a £1 stake on that first horse, had he then won 30 in a row, was £478 million,' said Mr Davis.

Original report here

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