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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Drug-dealing police convicted

A major police corruption case has ended with the conviction of three members of an elite squad who took part in a drugs conspiracy.

Metropolitan Police detective constables Thomas Kingston, 42, and Thomas Reynolds, 39, were found guilty of selling on drugs they had seized in police raids.

They were both jailed for three and a half years at the Old Bailey after being convicted of conspiracy to supply a Class B drug.

A sergeant, Terance O'Connell - also of 9 Regional Crime Squad based at East Dulwich, south London - was jailed for two years for doing acts tending or intending to pervert the course of justice.

He had known what the others were doing and falsified a report, the court heard.

Earlier trial

At a trial in February, the group's alleged ringleader Robert Clark was jailed for 12 years and his "enthusiastic" lieutenant Christopher Drury was jailed for 11 years.

Their conviction and sentences were not allowed to be published until Friday, because of pending proceedings.

Neil Putnam
Neil Putnam "wrestled with his conscience" after being interviewed
The scale of corruption in the squad was only exposed after a drugs baroness, Evelyn Fleckney, 44, decided to turn supergrass and provided the Police Complaints Investigation Bureau with details of her dealings with Clark.

She came into contact with Clark in the early 1990s after she was arrested and then turned informer.

They became lovers and she sold drugs he and his colleagues had seized.

When an investigation started, another officer "wrestled with his conscience" and decided to tell all he knew of the corruption which penetrated the squad.

Detective Constable Neil Putnam's evidence became the main prosecution plank in the Old Bailey trials of his colleagues.

If an elite squad turns to crime, their whole efforts are aborted and society suffers

Mr. Justice Blofeld
Putnam was jailed for three years 11 months and Fleckney for four and a half years in February for their parts in drug-dealing.

Mr. Justice Blofeld said that if police turned to crime, "the whole fabric of society was affected".

He said: "If an elite squad, which SERCS at Dulwich was - there to try and catch the most sophisticated criminals who sadly abound in society - turns to crime, their whole efforts are aborted and society suffers."

The judge criticised the lack of supervision by senior officers, which had allowed the detectives to put themselves above the law.

The Metropolitan force described the case as one of the biggest anti-corruption investigations in recent years.

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