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Police officer 'stole' £113,000 from evidence room and spent the money on horse racing, court hears

The Telegraph,
BYLINE: Martin Evans, Crime Correspondent

Warwickshire, England

The Telegraph,
Paul Greaves worked as a financial advisor for Warwickshire Police’s Serious Organised Crime Team Photo: PA

A senior detective stole £113,000 from the evidence room at a police headquarters and spent the money gambling on horse racing, a court has heard.

Paul Greaves, 56, who worked as a financial advisor for Warwickshire Police’s Serious Organised Crime Team, is accused of taking the money after it was seized by officers in a raid on a farm in June 2009.

A jury was told Mr Greaves, who had significant debts, then laundered the money by gambling on horse racing.

Opening the case against him at Birmingham Crown Court prosecutor Simon Davis said Mr Greaves had been able to deposit significant amounts of cash in his bank account despite his finances being in a parlous state.

Mr Davis said: “He's told the investigation he was a winning gambler and the money going in to his account was from betting. He did bet, no issue about that, but he was a loser.

“In a nutshell the money going in to his account can't be explained by his betting because he was losing more than he was winning. His betting, we say, was a way of laundering the cash.

“If you bet on favourites every day at the horses, you'll make a loss of seven per cent.

“So if you bet £100,000, you get £93,000 back and that's something you’re going to be able to grapple with.”

The jury heard that Mr Greaves was in charge of the money which was stored in a red metal box in the exhibit room at the Warwickshire force HQ in Leek Wootton.

He insisted that the cash, which was in various foreign denominations, was not banked even though it was force policy to do so.

The officer even went to court every few months to persuade magistrates to allow the force to keep hold of the £113,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, jurors were told.

It was only in September 2011, ten months after Mr Greaves retired, that it was realised the money was missing when a detective sergeant went to look for it in order to return it to the farm owners.

The jury of six men and six women were told Mr Greaves had various unsecured debts to the sum of £52,000 by July 2009.

When he was arrested he produced more than 200 betting slips claiming he had enjoyed gambling success thanks to some reliable tipsters.

But investigators found they were mainly photocopied winning slips which Mr Davis suggested Mr Greaves had carefully prepared in anticipation of being quizzed.

Mr Davis went on: “The impression being given to the police in interview was that I'm a successful gambler. The betting slips were analysed at length and he had staked about £15,000 on the 230 slips. In return he had received over £33,000 - profits of about £18,000.

"If that was what he was doing why were his finances in such a bad way if he was winning all that money?"

Mr Davis said Greaves, who denies theft, will claim somebody else had stolen the money.

The case, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.

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