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Bent officer stole to pay off his debts

PUBLISHED: 18:24 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 12 August 2010

Jailed: DC Lester

Jailed: DC Lester

A FLYING Squad officer who stole almost £5,000 from scenes of crime after getting swamped in debt has been jailed for three years. Detective Constable Lester Oakley, 40, of Redhill, Chislehurst plundered the cash from police station safes between 2002 an

A FLYING Squad officer who stole almost £5,000 from scenes of crime after getting swamped in debt has been jailed for three years.

Detective Constable Lester Oakley, 40, of Redhill, Chislehurst plundered the cash from police station safes between 2002 and 2004 after lying to bosses that he was returning the money to their owners.

Brighton Crown Court heard how the officer, based in Tower Bridge police station, pocketed £1,470 cash recovered from a robbery at NatWest in Orpington.

He also took £1,185 found at the scene of a raid at an HSBC bank in East Dulwich and £1,005 following a robbery at a Ladbrokes shop in Croydon, the jury heard.

A sum of £1,310 also went missing after being seized from a home in Mill Place, Crayford when a suspect was arrested after an armed robbery at a coffee shop.

He also took £800 from a Flying Squad account set up to rent an address from Newham council, a court heard last Friday.

The property was used as an observation post as part of an operation to investigate suspected armed robbers.

But at the end of the year-long tenancy, in Oakley's name, there were rent arrears of £2,279.

Oakley, a married father-of-two, stole the cash after racking up debts of about £6,000.

In interview, he told police he had been facing domestic problems for five years after his wife suffered post natal depression following the birth of their first child.

He denied six counts of theft but was found guilty by a jury after seven hours of deliberations.

Jailing him, Judge Cedric Joseph said: "You have brought disgrace upon yourself. This was a gross breach of trust.

"Offences of this kind by police officers can cause the public to lose confidence and trust in the integrity of the police force as a whole."

Oakley was suspended on full-pay from October 19, 2004 until his resignation last Friday after the three week trial.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "It is police regulations that an officer who is suspended is to continue to receive a full salary until they are convicted of wrongdoing.

"Mr Oakley resigned with immediate effect when found guilty.

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