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Prosecution scorns scrap trial ‘police conspiracy’
A “CONSPIRACY theory” that police repeatedly lied during a scrap yard trial has been branded an “outrageous distraction” by a barrister.
John Law, prosecuting, told a jury yesterday at Oxford Crown Court that they should not be “misled” by accusations levelled at Thames Valley Police.
During the six-week trial, Peter Stage, defending Simon Rogers, branded the investigation into TR Rogers and Sons, in Nuneham Courtenay, a “nasty little conspiracy”.
Five employees of the scrapyard deny attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property between March and May last year. The prosecution alleges the defendants accepted “suspicious” metal cables and lead from two undercover police officers – called ‘Kinger’ and ‘Andy’ to protect their identities – who were posing as metal thieves.
Mr Stage accused both men, as well as other police officers who worked on the case, of lying repeatedly in an attempt to “fit up” the defendants.
He also described the senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Rodger Cartwright, as a “bent copper” after it emerged he ordered the yard’s CCTV to be erased.
But summing up the prosecution’s case to the jury, Mr Law said the theories put forward by the defence had gone “from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous”.
He said: “There has been a lot of sand thrown up during this case which you must not let mislead or distract you, such as the conspiracy theory – the argument that all the police officers are risking their careers and their pensions to lie and fit up the Rogers.
“It should be dismissed as an outrageous distraction. You need to see the wood for the trees.”
He added that the destruction of the CCTV footage was a “red herring” and had not significantly affected the case.
Mr Stage said his client was a “hard-working good man of the community” who followed the rules. He said the whole prosecution was “politically driven” and the problem had been exaggerated by DI Cartwright to get more funding. Mr Stage said: “Metal theft became sexy and it was dialled up. There was a problem but it wasn’t as big as it was made out to be.
“It is being politically driven.”
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 all the charges.
The trial continues.