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'Corrupt' Detective Nicholas McFadden Sold Seized Drugs Worth More Than £600k

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A "corrupt" detective stole massive amounts of seized drugs and conspired to sell them with his brother in a plot that made the pair at least £600,000, a court has heard.

West Yorkshire Police Detective Constable Nicholas McFadden, 38, helped himself to tens of thousands of pounds of heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis by exploiting "slack" procedures at secret evidence stores, Leeds Crown Court was told.

McFadden, who was in charge of looking after evidence when he worked for a special organised crime group, and his brother Simon McFadden, 41, a debt collector, then conspired to sell the illegal substances and made at least £600,000, it is alleged.

The brothers "spent heavily but made so much money they didn't know what to do with it", jurors heard. They splashed out on exotic holidays, designer clothing, expensive jewellery, home improvements and private number plates for their cars.

leeds crown court

Leeds Crown Court heard how Nicholas McFadden stole drugs seized in major, multi-million pound raids

When police raided Nicholas McFadden's family home in Castleford, West Yorkshire, they found almost £160,000 in banknotes stuffed into sacks in his garage and £20,000 hidden around his house. They also discovered £6,000 in his performance car.

Nicholas McFadden denies stealing the drugs and conspiring to supply them but has pleaded guilty to money laundering, claiming he stole the cash from a drug dealer and made money selling illegal steroids. Simon McFadden, of Harehills, Leeds, denies conspiracy to supply.

"The plot of the McFadden brothers was successful and it generated huge sums of cash," Paul Greaney QC said. "The prosecution case is that Nicholas McFadden exploited (his) trusted position to steal drugs in very substantial quantities.

"Once the drugs had been stolen, Nicholas McFadden and his elder brother Simon McFadden conspired together and with others to supply those drugs for a profit. So, in other words, drugs which the police had succeeded in removing from the streets were put back by the accused men, who did so for the sole purpose of making money for themselves.

"Nicholas McFadden does not dispute that he suddenly came into a very large sum of money and he has given various explanations for how that came about."

When Nicholas McFadden's colleagues became suspicious of his new-found wealth, he told them his wife had received an insurance pay-out after getting cancer, which was a total lie, the court heard.

He also later told his wife Clair, a headteacher, he had made lots of money on overtime and his police pension was kicking in.

The father-of-one, who rekindled a "strong friendship" with his former partner - a police officer called Tanya Strangeway - during his marriage, gave her more than £13,000 in cash and bought her an Audi car, claiming he had a windfall after selling his house.

The detective was caught after regularly paying cash into ATMs, which triggered a bank's security alert and police were informed, said Paul Greaney QC.

When he was arrested, he told police he found bags of cash in a ditch by the M62 motorway.

"As Nicholas McFadden was to explain to the officers, he thought all his birthdays had come at once," said Mr Greaney.

The Crown alleges that between 2007 and 2011, Nicholas McFadden stole drugs seized in major, multi-million pound raids and from international criminal deals.

The hauls were held in the secret police premises where he worked in West Yorkshire.

Sometimes working as an exhibit officer, he had access to millions of pounds of drugs which he was responsible for transporting and tracking the movements of.

He used a range of methods to syphon off huge quantities of drugs, said Mr Greaney, including failing to book cocaine and other illegal substances in when they were moved between premises, claiming evidence had been incinerated when it had not, telling colleagues he had to "rebag" cannabis resin in a locked room and putting drugs in his locker.

A plastic bag that had contained just under a kilo of cocaine was found empty in his locker on one occasion in October 2011, the jury heard.

On another occasion, the prosecution claims the detective stole 95kg of cannabis resin with a street value of £75,000 to £125,000 from a haul destined for destruction.

Mr Greaney said that McFadden, who joined the force in 2000 and climbed the ranks, was in a position of authority but exploited "slackness" in the store's security procedures.

He said: "Investigations at the store reveal no record of the sort that ought to exist of the drugs being booked back in. And so there is no record of the drugs being booked in because they had not been booked in. That is because Nicholas McFadden had stolen them.

"The systems that were operated at the store within the covert premises were, during the period with which this case is concerned, not operating as robustly as you would expect, given they were storing drugs and even firearms."

When Simon McFadden's back-to-back terraced home was searched, large amounts of cash were found along with mobile phones that contained messages about drug deals, the court heard.

On their arrest, their finances were scruitinised and Nicholas McFadden had £430,000 in cash which could not be traced to any legitimate source, Mr Greaney said.

Simon McFadden had a further £160,000 which could not be traced to a legitimate source and spent "extravagant" amounts in the casino and on designer clothes and electrical goods, he said.

He also bought his wife, Karen, a personalised number plate for her Mazda MX5 sports car which read M2 SXY.

Simon McFadden claimed he had won at the casino in what he called "an extremely good run of luck". In fact, he had lost more than £8,800 during the period he referred to, according to casino records.

Karen McFadden, who has a teenage son with her husband, has pleaded guilty to money laundering and did not appear in the dock today.

Simon McFadden maintains that he knew nothing about his brother's alleged criminal activity.

The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, continues.

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