Former detective cleared of supplying cocaine

IPSWICH A former drugs’ squad detective spoke of his joy today after being cleared of supplying cocaine worth �4,000 to an undercover police officer.

Steve Rowland, of Norbury Road, Ipswich was found not guilty by a jury at Basildon Crown Court yesterday after a trial lasting just over two weeks.

After his acquittal Mr Rowland said: “I’m absolutely over the moon for myself and my family. Justice has been done.

“It’s been an extremely difficult time for me and my family. My 10-year-old daughter his been having nightmares.

“It’s been such a long haul for all those who have supported me throughout. I would like to thank all of them.”

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During the 44-year-old’s trial the ex-undercover officer said he had been the victim of a misunderstanding, adding: “I did not, and have never, dealt in the supply of drugs.”

He claimed he had been set up by his former friend Damien Thomas, who had previously admitted his involvement in the investigation.

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Mr Rowland was accused of supplying cocaine, with Thomas, to an undercover officer named as “Tony” on February 27, 2009.

The court heard Mr Rowland had helped to arrest Thomas for possession of 22,000 ecstasy tablets in 1998.

When cross-examined while giving evidence Mr Rowland said: “Damien has, for whatever reason, with a few carefully placed words, made it look as though those drugs came from somewhere else.”

Mr Rowland said he and Thomas had started to socialise in 2006, but denied they were best friends.

Earlier in the trial prosecutor Christopher Paxton had alleged conversations recorded covertly in the Spread Eagle pub revealed that on February 26 last year “Tony” and Thomas discussed the supply of cocaine from Mr Rowland.

The following day Thomas allegedly left “Tony’s” car at Ransomes Europark with �4,000, and returned shortly afterwards with a brown envelope containing 123g of cocaine.

It was also alleged that mobile phone analysis, and evidence of a �1,500 deposit at a nearby bank, placed Mr Rowland in the area at the time.

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