A corrupt police sergeant has been jailed for 18 months for stealing vehicles from police custody before selling them on.
Met Police Sergeant David Robinson, 36, of Butterfield, East Grinstead, admitted stealing five motorbikes, three pushbikes, and a BMW that had been parked outside Brixton police station.
He pleaded guilty to theft, fraud, and misconduct in a public office.
He used a colleague’s radio to perform checks on the vehicles, and even updated one police record instructing colleagues not to return the car after he had stolen it.
Robinson, an officer attached to the south London borough of Lambeth since 1999, also defrauded the DVLA by registering vehicles under the name of the former owner of a house he had bought to rent out.
Robinson’s colleagues became suspicious when bicycles went missing from police custody, and a search on his home after his arrest on July 6 unearthed two of the missing bikes.
They found he had checked out the bikes, and one was found being sold on his wife’s eBay account, the court heard.
Some of the motorbikes had been legally bought by two brothers, but confiscated by police in connection with an investigation.
The Met were forced to pay compensation to the brothers when they were unable to return their bikes.
Today, his defence pleaded with a judge at Southwark Crown Court to suspend his prison sentence because of personal difficulties.
The court heard that at the time of the thefts he had been embroiled in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, who was bankrolled by her mum’s £4 million Lottery win.
Defence counsel Kevin Baumber said: “His guilty plea allows me to say in earnest he is sorry.
“At the time the defendant had problems in his personal life with divorce, he a single parent for his children.
“And in the custody battle, the bitter custody battle, he spent something like £14,000 seeking to keep the care of his children.
“This was against his ex-wife’s mother’s £4 million lottery win.
“This is a broken man losing his faith and getting lost rather than a malicious conniver.”
But Judge Anthony Pitts jailed the officer for a year-and-a-half, saying that his crimes may undermine the public’s confidence in the service.
He told Robinson: “This is a very unhappy situation for everyone: for you of course, for your family it’s a very sad situation to face, and it’s an unhappy one for the court to have to sentence a police officer and a sergeant for serious criminal offences. It’s sad for the public as well.”
He then read from a victim impact statement written by Maurizio Miresse, who owned South London Motorcycles when he unwittingly purchased a stolen bicycle worth £2,400 from Robinson.
The statement said: “I’m blown away by the fact it’s a police officer who has caused the situation. I already have difficulties with trust and this situation has left me wondering who I can trust.”
The judge continued: “One of the impacts is great damage will be done to the trust and respect we have for all police officers who do a difficult and dangerous job on our behalf and that’s one of the serious aggravating features of this case.
“You have been a police officer since 1999 who has obviously done well and you were much liked and respected and now you are being sentenced by a crown court judge for fraud, theft and misconduct in a public office.
“Apart from these matters, one would describe you as of impeccable character and a man to be admired and looked up to.
“You were using your position as a police sergeant, for the most part at Brixton Police Station, and abusing that position to steal from the police’s possession items that had been stolen from members of the public and brought to the police.
“Before they could be returned to their previous owners you were stealing them and making money out of those thefts.
“This is too serious for a suspended sentence but I’m going to take into account what he [Mr Baumber] said and make it as short a sentence as I reasonably can.”
Robinson mouthed ‘thank you’ to the judge before he was led to the cells in tears.
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