Martin King, 51, had intended to use an officer for future scams "to their mutual benefit". But the officer, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Elcock, reported his approach to superior officers.
David Jeremy, for the prosecution, told the court that Det Ch Insp Elcock, who is in the Metropolitan Police, then posed as a crooked officer willing to go along with the corruption, while taping the meetings.
King, who served in the Metropolitan police from 1967 and 1971 with an "exemplary record", was arrested.
He admitted two charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and three charges of corruption.
During his dealings with Det Ch Insp Elcock, King told him he knew a man who had the Henry Moore statue - a bronze of a seated woman which was stolen from a gallery in London in 1996 - on which a pounds 10,000 reward was being offered, Mr Jeremy told the court.
He then arranged to be registered as a police informer under a false name to explain how he and Elcock came to have the statue so the reward money could be obtained. He and Elcock went to Scotland Yard to collect the pounds 10,000 and later received a further pounds 3,000 from the police informers' fund.
But pounds 10,000 went straight back to the sellers while pounds 2,000 went to Mr Elcock and was returned - leaving King with pounds 1,000, the court was told.
King also acted as a go-between in bids to sabotage two other investigations.