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Flying Squad officers turn supergrass

TWO FORMER Flying Squad detectives who have admitted a wide range of crimes including planting a gun on a suspect, handling stolen goods and conspiracy have turned supergrass as part of Scotland Yard's major anti corruption drive, it was disclosed yesterday.

Both officers are now in protective custody being debriefed by the special team of investigators examining widespread allegation of corruption in the Metropolitan Police.

Their role became known for the first time yesterday at the end of the Old Bailey trial of another retired Flying Squad officer who was acquitted of burglary and plotting to supply cannabis. It was the first trial stemming from the investigation.

Detective Constable Keith Green was found not guilty of breaking into an east London flat and stealing 80 kilos of cannabis resin in December last year. But his two colleagues, Detective Constables Terry McGuinness and Kevin Garner have not only admitted the plot to steal and sell the drugs, but have confessed to a total of 19 offences

Garner and McGuinness were caught in a trap set by members of the Complaints Investigation Bureau (CIB), who rented a flat, planted the drugs and then let it be known they were there. All three officers were filmed leaving the flat with the drugs.

Mr Green, who retired on grounds of ill health in July 1996, told the court he had not known about the drugs and had been asked to recover property from the flat and he had never been in any agreement to supply cannabis.

Details of the case were revealed following the lifting of reporting restrictions at the end of Mr Green's trial. At the Old Bailey last month, Garner admitted another 12 charges and McGuinness admitted seven including conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, planting a gun on an armed robbery suspect, handling stolen goods and conspiring to steal cash. Both will be sentenced later.

Mr Green, who served between 1988 and 1993, had suffered from stress and trauma after witnessing a colleague being shot during an operation, the court heard. The Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner, John Stevens, said after the case: "Corruption will not be tolerated within the Metropolitan Police Service and this case demonstrates the MPS's commitment to target former officers who engage in similar activities as well as any corruption within the force itself."

The current corruption inquiry is the largest in London since the 1970s. More than 40 officers have been suspended.

In a separate case, four serving officers and one former detective from Scotland Yard's Flying Squad faced charges yesterday relating to the theft of the proceeds of an armed robbery. The five, together with another man, faced allegations of conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to receive stolen cash and to pervert the course of justice. All six were remanded on bail by Bow Street magistrates.

In Merseyside, Detective Chief Inspector Tony Doyle, 48, a former number two in the area's drugs squad, was remanded on bail when he appeared before Liverpool magistrates facing corruption charges.