A corrupt detective has been found guilty of stealing large amounts of seized drugs and selling them back to drug dealers in a plot that made him and his brother around £600,000.
Detective Constable Nicholas McFadden of West Yorkshire police helped himself to tens of thousands of pounds of heroin, cocaine and cannabis by exploiting “slack” procedures at secret evidence stores, Leeds crown court heard.
McFadden, 38, was in charge of looking after evidence when he worked for a special organised crime group. His brother Simon McFadden, 41, a debt collector, then conspired to sell the illegal substances and made around £600,000.
The brothers “spent heavily but made so much money they didn’t know what to do with it”, jurors heard. They splashed out on exotic holidays, designer clothing, expensive jewellery, home improvements and private numberplates for their cars.
When police raided Nicholas’s family home in Castleford, West Yorkshire, they found almost £160,000 in banknotes stuffed into sacks in his garage and £20,000 hidden around his house. They also discovered £6,000 in his sports car.
Nicholas denied stealing the drugs and conspiring to supply them but pleaded guilty to money laundering, claiming he stole the cash from a drug dealer and made money selling illegal steroids. Simon, of Harehills, Leeds, denied conspiracy to supply.
However, it took jurors less than four hours to find Nicholas guilty of stealing class A and B drugs including heroin and cocaine and both brothers guilty of conspiring to supply them.
The former police officer was acquitted on a charge of stealing amphetamine and the jury found both not guilty of conspiring to supply it.
Simon’s wife Karen McFadden, who has a teenage son with her husband, pleaded guilty to money laundering and did not appear in the dock during the five-week trial. She will be sentenced with the two brothers at Leeds crown court on Thursday morning.
“The plot of the McFadden brothers was successful and it generated huge sums of cash,” Paul Greaney QC said during the trial. “Nicholas McFadden exploited [his] trusted position to steal drugs in very substantial quantities.
“Once the drugs had been stolen, Nicholas McFadden and his elder brother Simon McFadden conspired together and with others to supply those drugs for a profit. So, in other words, drugs which the police had succeeded in removing from the streets were put back by the accused men, who did so for the sole purpose of making money for themselves.”
Nicholas told colleagues his wife had received an insurance payout after getting cancer, which was a total lie, the court heard. He also told his wife Clair, a teacher, he had made lots of money on overtime and his police pension was kicking in.
Nicholas also gave a former partner, a police officer called Tanya Strangeway, more than £13,000 in cash and bought her an Audi car, claiming he had a windfall after selling his house.
The detective was caught after regularly paying cash into ATMs, which triggered a bank’s security alert and police were informed. When he was arrested, he told police he found bags of cash in a ditch by the M62 motorway.
“As Nicholas McFadden was to explain to the officers, he thought all his birthdays had come at once,” said Greaney.
The Crown told jurors that Nicholas used a range of methods to syphon off huge quantities of drugs, including failing to book cocaine and other illegal substances when they were moved between premises.
Greaney said McFadden, who joined the force in 2000 and climbed the ranks, was in a position of authority but exploited “slackness” in the store’s security procedures.
Following the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Nick Wallen of West Yorkshire police said he was extremely pleased with the outcome. He said: “This case has focused on a corrupt police officer – this man was in fact a criminal purporting to be a police officer.”
News published on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/02/police-officer-guilty-stealing-drugs