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Ex-Wolverhampton policeman jailed for stealing cannabis from drug dealer's seized stash

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A disgraced former police officer who stole from a stash of cannabis colleagues had seized from a drug dealer has been jailed.

Wolverhampton-based Benjamin Hughes, who has now been dismissed from the force, had pleaded guilty to charges of theft by an employee and possessing cannabis.

Hughes, aged 33, was jailed for 20 months after a judge at Warwick Crown Court said his offence undermined trust in the police.

Prosecutor Mr Stuart Clarkson said that on January 14 a constable at Wolverhampton Central police station saw a small bag on the floor of a communal locker room. It was empty, but it smelled of cannabis, so he informed a superior officer who authorised a search of the lockers.

"The defendant's locker was above the point where it had been found. They opened it and saw a second deal bag," he said.

"There was nothing in that either, but they also found a West Midlands Police property bag in which a quantity of cannabis was found, just over 10g in total, valued at just over £100."

Mr Clarkson said the theft related to cannabis seized from a suspected dealer in November last year.

When interviewed, Hughes claimed he had found the cannabis in his locker on a train and had intended to hand it in.

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Miss Ramya Nagesh, defending, conceded: "I accept this must be high culpability because of the level of responsibility.

"It cannot be ignored that there may be a loss of confidence in the police force because of an officer doing this."

She said Hughes had previously smoked cannabis because of family problems, but stopped when he became a police officer eight-and-a-half years ago, only to start again in 2014 when he was 'the victim of domestic violence'.

As well as daily disputes at home, he was finding the job stressful 'and sadly turned to illicit substances to cope'.

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Miss Nagesh said: "At the time he saw the cannabis in the detained property room, he acted on impulse."

She said Hughes had been highly-regarded as an officer and had received three awards. Jailing Hughes, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: "This is a very serious offence.

"It's not about the value of the drugs, it's the fact that if you are a police officer you are in one of the most trusted roles in the community."

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