A police officer from Kent stole painkillers and talcum powder from a police station thinking they were illegal drugs, a court heard.
Sergeant Robin Farnsworth, 37, was caught on video camera taking the “dummy” package, which was planted in the safe days before the theft in November 2001.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that Mr Farnsworth, from Hospital Hill, Hythe, snatched the package, which was supposed to represent £20 to £30 of ecstasy and amphetamine, for his own use.
Luke Blackburn, prosecuting, said a video camera was secretly hidden in the safe at a police station in Folkestone.
Why would a man put his whole career at risk for a quantity of drugs that represented such as small amount of money?
Luke Blackburn, prosecuting
He said only a limited number of people had access to a key which would open the safe, including Mr Farnsworth, who had risen to the position of custody sergeant during his 17-year career.
The jury was also told there was evidence that Mr Farnsworth had been using drugs around that time.
Mr Blackburn said: “Why would a man put his whole career at risk for a quantity of drugs that represented such as small amount of money?
“If he was serious about doing drugs it would be very difficult for him to obtain them through the usual routes.
“He therefore decided to obtain them at no risk and for free unaware he was being recorded on video tape.”
Mr Farnsworth denies one count of theft.
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