'Warehouse of controlled drugs' found at police inspector's home, court told
Drugs worth an estimated £700,000 were found at the home of a senior police officer, according to a prosecutor who told a jury it was a "stash" that "would have kept a 1970s rock star, as well as his band, entertained for weeks".
Inspector Keith Boots, 55, was responsible for disposing of seized drugs for West Yorkshire Police in Bradford but, instead, he stole large quantities to supply to others, Leeds Crown Court heard.
When colleagues raided Boots's Bradford home they found cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and cannabis worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, including 11kg of cocaine "jammed" into his washing machine.
Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC told a jury: " What was found on the ground floor would have kept a 1970s rock star, as well as his band, entertained for weeks."
After asking the jury "what do you keep in your washing machine?", the prosecutor said: "Keith Boots had over 11 kilograms of cocaine worth hundreds of thousands of pounds on the street in his."
He said the drugs found in the house were estimated to be worth £700,000 by a police expert.
Mr Greaney said: "It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say 'what a stash!'."
He said: "There may well be room for legitimate debate amongst experts about the precise value of those drugs, but on any view, you are concerned with a very valuable haul of controlled drugs.
"All of them in the house of a police inspector, Keith Boots."
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, Mr Greaney said.
The prosecutor told the court: "He was stealing and storing drugs so that they could then be supplied unlawfully to others.
"In other words, the Boots operation did not just involve the theft of drugs that had been removed from the streets by the police, it also involved putting them back on to those same streets and the person principally responsible was Keith Boots, a police inspector."
Mr Greaney explained how Boots's home in Norman Lane, Eccleshill, Bradford, was searched on December 4 2014, after officers smashed in the door because a colleague noticed a quantity of cocaine missing from the station store.
Ammunition for a gun was also found along with drug disposal bins from the police station.
The prosecutor said: "The drugs found within the property included cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and cannabis in both its resin and skunk forms."
He said: " What had happened that night was that officers had found a warehouse of controlled drugs in the home of one of their own inspectors."
Mr Greaney said: " What Keith Boots had been doing is as simple as it is wicked.
"In a gross breach of trust, he had been exploiting weaknesses in the system for the destruction of controlled drugs in order to steal them."
Mr Greaney said Boots, who had a liver transplant earlier in 2014, had become "nothing more than a criminal".
Boots went on trial on Wednesday with his son Ashley Boots and a third defendant, Ian Mitchell.
Mr Greaney said Mitchell, who was wanted for recall to prison, "strolled" into a Leeds police station and said it was him who had hidden the drugs found at Norman Lane on behalf of a unnamed dealer.
The prosecutor said Mitchell claimed his "friend" Keith Boots was "blameless".
Mr Greaney told the jury: "But all of this was lies and nonsense and his tale quickly unravelled."
Keith Boots denies four counts of theft, six counts of possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply, one count of possessing ammunition, three counts of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, one count of conspiracy to steal and one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Ashley Boots, 29, of Weatherhouse Terrace, Halifax, denies six counts of possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply, one count of possessing ammunition, three counts of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, one count of conspiracy to steal and one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Ian Mitchell, 27, of no fixed address, denies one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The trial continues on Thursday.