Inspector guilty of stealing drugs from police station

Leeds Crown Court. Picture by Tony Johnson
Leeds Crown Court. Picture by Tony Johnson

A police inspector has been convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs from the police station where he was in charge of supervising its destruction.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard when fellow officers raided the home of Keith Boots in December 2014, they found a “warehouse” of drugs worth more than £750,000 including 11 kilogrammes of cocaine in his washing machine.

Boots who had been in West Yorkshire police more than 20 years had signed off that drugs held in store at Trafalgar House police station in Bradford had been disposed of but some of them were found at his house which his son Ashley from Halifax intended to put back onto the streets through his criminal contacts.

Paul Greaney QC prosecuting said: “What Keith Boots had been doing is as simple as it is wicked. In gross breach of trust, he had been exploiting weaknesses in the system for the destruction of controlled drugs in order to steal them.”

Keith Boots, 55 of Norman Lane, Bradford was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of conspiracy to steal drugs from West Yorkshire police, conspiracy to supply Class A, B and C drugs and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

He was also unanimously convicted on four charges of stealing drugs from West Yorkshire police and seven charges of possessing drugs with intent to supply. He was found not guilty of possessing 25 Browning cartridges without a firearm certificate discovered at his home.

His son Ashley, 30 of Heatherhouse Terrace, Pellon, Halifax was also convicted on the five conspiracy charges.

He pleaded guilty during the trial to six charges of possessing drugs with intent to supply involving TFMPP, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy and the jury convicted him of a further charge of possessing cocaine with intent to supply. He also admitted possession of the cartridges without a firearms certificate.

A third man Ian Mitchell, 28, was found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. All three will be sentenced next week.

The jury heard Boots joined West Yorkshire Police as a constable in 1990, at the age of 28. He was promoted to sergeant in 1999, and again to inspector in 2002.

“What was found on the ground floor would have kept a 1970s rock star and his band, entertained for weeks,” Mr Greaney told the jury.

He said that included his washing machine jammed full of plastic bags containing drugs. Boots had denied knowing anything about the drugs.

His son Ashley said Mitchell was doing a favour for someone he owed a debt to by letting them leave the drugs at his father’s house. He denied his father was involved.