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Scrapyard sting officer 'destroyed evidence' trial jury told
THE detective in charge of a scrapyard sting operation has been accused of deliberately destroying evidence.
Detective Inspector Rodger Cartwright was repeatedly branded “a liar” yesterday while giving evidence in the trial of five men from TR Rogers and Sons.
He was asked by Peter Stage, defending Simon Rogers, to explain why on February 13 this year he gave an order to erase CCTV footage seized from the Nuneham Courtenay scrapyard.
During heated exchanges in Oxford Crown Court the barrister called him a “bent copper” and claimed he had tried to cover up wrongdoing by his undercover police officers.
Det Insp Cartwright repeatedly denied lying, but admitted he had done the “wrong thing” by not making a back-up copy of footage from the scrapyard’s CCTV hard drive.
He said he decided to wipe the footage before handing it back to protect the identities of ‘Andy’ and ‘Kinger’ – undercover officers who recorded and filmed the five defendants while posing as metal thieves.
But Mr Stage suggested the high-quality CCTV footage was erased because it would have proved the defendants were innocent.
He said: “I suggest the real reason was so that his honour the judge, or someone in a similar position, couldn’t order you to give it to me.
“Because then it would blow a hole in your case and show Andy and Kinger had fitted these people up, wouldn’t it?”
Det Insp Cartwright replied: “I have 27 years of being a police officer and if you are calling me a liar...”
Mr Stage interrupted him and said: “I’m calling you a bent copper, I’m calling you a liar and I’m saying you did it.”
Det Insp Cartwright said: “I’m telling you I’m not.
“I returned [the CCTV system] because I thought it was the best thing for their business. I wiped it for the safety of the officers.”
Mr Stage added: “What you are doing is using the undercover designation as an excuse, to make it more difficult for the defendants to prove what was going on.”
Det Insp Cartwright retorted: “The bottom line is the whole operation reduced metal crime by 40 odd per cent. The actual position to my mind is we have already had a big impact on the community.”
The barrister dismissed this as “lies, damn lies and statistics”. Mr Stage also drew attention to an email sent by the Crown Prosecution Service on February 11 telling Det Insp Cartwright not to erase the CCTV footage.
The officer said he did not receive the email or know about it until after the hard drive had been wiped as it had been wrongly addressed.
The five defendants deny eight counts of attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property between March and May last year after allegedly accepting metal cables and lead from the undercover officers.
The trial continues.
The accused are:
- Terence Rogers, 70, of High Street, Drayton St Leonard, charged with two counts of attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property.
- Simon Rogers, 42, of Bromsgrove, Faringdon, faces five counts of attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property.
- Martin Pace, 36, of Abbott Road, Didcot, faces four counts of attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property.
- Ian Marshall, 29, of Evenlode Drive, Berinsfield, faces two counts of attempting to conceal or convert criminal property.
- Darren Andrews, 34, of Colwell Road, Berinsfield, charged with one count of attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property.