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Drug-dealing policeman arrested in sting jailed

By Staff Reporter

A policeman who admitted dealing drugs after he was caught with 100 ecstasy tablets in an undercover surveillance operation was jailed yesterday.

Sean Paul Race (31), from Comber, Co Down, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to a charge of possessing the class A drugs with intent to supply after he was caught red-handed in a targeted operation.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC said that despite being arrested with the tablets, Race had put forward a "lying defence" of entrapment, made a no-comment interview to police and only pleaded guilty close to the start of his trial.

"In his letter to me, he expresses the hope not to receive a custodial sentence so he can maintain the relationship with his son," said Judge Rafferty QC. "This was the same son he took drug dealing.

"What is clear in this case and in these circumstances is that at the time he was a serving police officer who willingly involved himself in this offence, for which he has now pleaded guilty.

Giving credit to Race's guilty plead and previously clear criminal record, the judge imposed a sentence of three-and-a-half years in custody.

"I have considered whether there any exceptional elements to this case that would allow me to suspend the sentence," he told the defendant.

"Unfortunately, Mr Race, I have concluded there are no exceptional circumstances.

"You will served 21 months in custody followed by 21 months on supervised licence."

As the sentence was passed, Race stood in court with his head bowed before he was led away in handcuffs by a prison guard.

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