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Undercover police deny ‘fitting-up’ at scrapyard
AN undercover police officer has denied ‘fitting-up’ staff at a scrapyard accused of buying stolen metal.
A jury in Oxford Crown Court yesterday heard from one half of the team that posed as metal thieves as part of a sting operation at TR Rogers & Sons.
The officers – codenamed ‘Andy’ and ‘Kinger’ to protect their real identities – were sent into the Nuneham Courtenay scrapyard to see if those working there would accept “suspicious” metal between March and May last year.
The prosecution alleges they were met with “wilful blindness” from five employees, despite making repeated references to the cables and lead they brought in being stolen.
Yesterday, ‘Kinger’ took the stand for the first time to give evidence from behind a screen. He described each of the occasions he and his partner went to the yard to sell metal.
He told the jury that staff at the yard accepted cables and lead even when he and his partner told them they had been stolen from a skip and off a roof.
The jury was then played audio recordings of the undercover officers’ conversations with the defendants.
But during cross-examination, ‘Kinger’ was accused by Peter Stage, defending Simon Rogers, of using a range of techniques to “fit up” the five men on trial. He said the pair behaved like “sinister and dishonest Chuckle Brothers” using “banter” to disguise what they were really saying.
Mr Stage said: “You say things to go on the tapes, but your body is positioned so that the person you are talking to can’t hear it.”
The witness replied: “No.”
The barrister continued: “ It looks as if it’s a genuine conversation, but in reality they are being fitted up.”
‘Kinger’ said: “I can assure you that does not happen.”
Mr Stage added: “You have been caught out because you have committed the cardinal sin of being undercover – you have got sloppy.”
But the officer insisted his integrity was “second to none” and denied any kind of wrongdoing.
During another exchange, the barrister asked ‘Kinger’ if his job was “to lie and deceive people".
The officer answered: “My job is to be a police officer.”
Mr Stage said: “You lie to people, don’t you?”
‘Kinger’ said: “I do lie, I do deceive people, but I'm still a police officer.”
Terence Rogers, 70, of High Street, Drayton St Leonard; Simon Rogers, 42, of Bromsgrove, Faringdon; Martin Pace, 36, of Brookmead Drive, Wallingford; Ian Marshall, 29, of Evenlode Drive, Berinsfield, and Darren Andrews, 34, of Colwell Road, Berinsfield, deny attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property.
The trial continues.