A “DISHONEST and manipulative” West Yorkshire police inspector who was found with £700,000 of drugs at his home has been jailed for 26 years.
Keith Boots, 55, who was responsible for disposing of seized drugs for West Yorkshire Police, was described as a “disgrace to the uniform” as he was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.
Boots, who conspired with his son Ashley Boots to steal the drugs from the force, was found with enough drugs to keep “a 1970s rock star, and his band, entertained for weeks”, including a large amount of cocaine in his washing machine.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said he had never come across a case where the evidence was so overwhelming.
He said Keith and Ashley Boots, who was jailed for 24 years, stole the drugs in order to put them back on to the streets of West Yorkshire for their own financial gain.
He said Keith Boots had been a “trusted” inspector.
Judge Marson said: “One of the consequences of a senior police officer turning to crime is it undermines confidence in the police service.”
He added: “It’s a betrayal of those decent, honest officers who work diligently in order to detect crime.”
The judge told Keith Boots: “Sadly, the only conclusion I can draw is your behaviour has been thoroughly dishonest and manipulative.
“You are a disgrace to the uniform you once wore.”
The nine-week trial heard that when police raided Keith Boots’ Bradford home in December 2014, they found cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and cannabis worth around £700,000, including 24lb (11kg) of cocaine “jammed” into his washing machine.
Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC told the court in January: “What was found on the ground floor would have kept a 1970s rock star, and his band, entertained for weeks.”
Keith Boots, who had been a West Yorkshire Police officer since 1990 and an inspector for more than 10 years, stole drugs from the stores he managed at Trafalgar House police station, in the centre of Bradford.
Officers smashed their way into his home in Norman Lane, Eccleshill, after a colleague noticed a quantity of cocaine missing from the station store.
Judge Marson said Keith Boots’ “arrogance” that no-one would question the actions of a police inspector was his “downfall”.
He told the defendants: “Supplying controlled drugs, particularly of class A, is an evil trade.
“It brings misery to those who are addicted and can lead to death.
“Every day, this court deals with addicts who steal, rob and burgle in order to fund their habit.
“People who supply drugs in this way do it for one purpose only and that’s for financial gain.”
The judge added: “Your only motivation was greed at the expense of misery to others.
“You, Keith Boots, must have known from your work in the police the misery which addiction to drugs can bring.”
Keith Boots was found guilty of a range of offences, including conspiracy to steal drugs, conspiracy to supply drugs, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, theft and possessing drugs with intent to supply.
He was dismissed from West Yorkshire Police following a hearing in March last year.
Ashley Boots, 30, of Weatherhouse Terrace, Halifax, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He admitted six charges of possessing drugs with intent to supply and one count of possessing ammunition.
Ashley Boots also pleaded guilty to two further separate offences of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs before Friday’s sentencing hearing.
The court heard he was an “established drug dealer” with a number of cautions for drugs offences.
He also received a short prison sentence after being found with a quantity of the drug spice and other controlled drugs following a court hearing for this case.
Judge Marson described him as “cunning, manipulative and deceitful”.
A third man, Ian Mitchell, 28, of no fixed address, was jailed for five years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after he told police the drugs found at the house in Bradford were his and nothing to do with Keith and Ashley Boots.
Judge Marson said: “This was an attempt to exculpate Keith and Ashley Boots from very serious criminal charges.”
The judge told the men they would serve half of their sentences before being released on licence.
He commended the police involved in the investigation and the lawyers involved in the case.
He said: “This was truly overwhelming evidence. I have been sitting as a judge for many years and I have never come across a case where the circumstantial evidence was so overwhelming. And it is only so overwhelming because of the dedication of those involved in this investigation.”
After the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Simon Bottomley of West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Keith Boots belongs in jail. He is a criminal who pretended to uphold the values expected of a police officer but in reality fell a very long way short of the high standards expected with the uniform.
“He is an embarrassment to Force employees who day in day out work tirelessly to keep the people of West Yorkshire safe. Boots’ colleagues were taking drugs off of the streets whilst he was looking to put them back out there.
“There is no excuse for what Boots did and he now has a very long time in prison to consider the consequences of his actions. He is no longer a police officer having been sacked from the Force on 24 March 2016.”