Officer is jailed for theft during drug search

A POLICE officer who stole pounds 560 in cash during a drugs search of a man's home was yesterday jailed for 15 months.

Stafford Crown Court was told that PC Karen Clowes, 24 - who has since resigned from the Staffordshire force - paid the money into her bank account and claimed it came from the sale of a horse.

Clowes, of Harriseahead, Staffordshire, who joined the police in 1988, admitted theft and perverting the course of justice.

The court was told that she took the money from the pocket of a jacket during an early hours search of a house in Newcastle-under-Lyme last April. Fearing her bank accounts would be checked, she asked her sister to confirm her story but later admitted she had taken the money.

Mark Eades, for the defence, said the theft was committed 'on the spur of the moment at a time when she felt out of sorts with herself, her career and the police force'. He said Clowes had not received the force's support when she complained she had been indecently assaulted by a colleague and that a man who allegedly stabbed her was not prosecuted.

Mrs Justice Ebsworth said: 'Police have regular access to other people's premises and possessions and it is essential for the public to be able to have complete faith in their honesty and integrity.'