Sunday, December 06, 2015

Two corrupt British cops who stole at least £10,000 in cash during a raid on a suspected drug dealer are jailed for a total of four years

Two police officers were jailed for stealing bundles of banknotes worth at least £10,000 during a raid on a suspected drug dealer.

Former Detective Sergeant Stephen Phillips, 47, and Detective Constable Michael Stokes, 35, stole cash from the home - and more later during a formal cash count at their police station.

A court heard the student target of the raid was ordered to reveal the code to a safe hidden underneath his mother's bed holding the cash.  The officers then took a second safe to a locksmiths to pocket more of the money inside totalling £78,000.

The investigation into suspected drug dealer Jayden Luben, 32, was eventually called off - and he was given a cheque by Stokes which was meant to reflect the total amount of cash seized during the raid.  But Mr Luben said the cheque was £30,000 short of the £78,000 taken from the two safes.

A corruption investigation was launched into the South Wales Police officers involved in the raid.

Prosecutor Peter Griffiths QC said: 'There are a few bad apples in every organisation and this police force is sadly no exception.  'This a case of police corruption.'

Phillips, of Swansea, was jailed for two years for three counts of theft, while colleague Stokes, of nearby Glynneath, was also sentenced to two years for two counts of theft.

Judge Eleri Rees QC said both men had 'accumulated significant debts and had a gambling habit' when they staged the raid.  She said: 'The true purpose was to take money for yourself.  'You believed that this money was linked to drug dealing and that is was unlikely any complaint would be made or believed. You thought you could get away with it.

'You demonstrated a contempt for the laws you were meant to withhold.  'These offences represent a gross abuse of the trust placed in you as police officers.

'Such corrupt behaviour does untold damage to the public confidence in the police and tarnishes the reputation of the vast majority of officers who carry out their duties honestly and conscientiously.'

The thefts happened in 2011 after a tip-off led to police carrying out a search warrant on a home in Penderry Road, Swansea.

During the four-week trial at Cardiff Crown Court, Mr Luben denied it was drugs money.

The Swansea University law student told the court the cash was a combination of life savings, casino winnings and money from a sold car, but said he hadn't kept any receipts or records which could back his claims.  He was also unable to explain why a forensic test found extremely high traces of cocaine on the money.

Stokes had bragged to a colleague he'd taken £12,000 although he later claimed it was 'a practical joke.'

The jury also heard Phillips had been sacked in 2014 after stealing £250 from a fake crime scene set up by his force as an 'integrity test.'

It took the jury three days to reach guilty verdicts for both Phillips and Stokes.

Mr Luben claimed the officers had taken £30,000 but the judge agreed to accept it was £10,000 which was accepted by the prosecution.

A third man Detective Constable Phillip Christopher Evans, 38, from Llangennech, was cleared of two counts of theft.

After the case Gemma Vincent, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wales Complex Casework Unit, said: 'Michael Stokes and Stephen Phillips have been found guilty of serious offences, clearly breaching the trust placed in them as police officers serving the public.

'Both men failed in their duty to act diligently and professionally to protect the public and uphold the law.

'Today's convictions demonstrate that those who abuse their position as public servants and commit criminal offences will be prosecuted.'

Jon Stratford, Assistant Chief Constable of South Wales, said the convictions were the result of a thorough investigation. He went on to say that the police officers betrayed trust with their actions.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE

No comments: