A policeman who masterminded several cashpoint raids to fund his ?600-a-week cocaine habit has been jailed for six years.
Jason Singh, an officer with Northumbria Police, was the ringleader of a team attacking ATMs with power tools in professional, well planned raids across Tyne and Wear.
The 23-year-old police constable even used confidential information obtained from a Northumbria Police computer to target a vulnerable woman's ?30,000 savings.
Singh, of Dunston, Gateshead, turned to crime to feed his drug and drink habits after being unable to cope with the pressures of his work at South Shields police station.
He had joined the police after a promising career as a footballer with Newcastle United was ended when the club released him at the age of 18.
advertisementHis spree, which netted around ?13,000, was carried out as a joint enterprise with the criminals. who he had known for some time.
The gang was caught after a series of attacks on ATM machines in the Gateshead area dating from Nov 2005. One was a botched strike, and on the last attempt the gang were caught in December 2005.
Singh was arrested following a complex undercover investigation carried out by Northumbria Police, which had become concerned about the people he was associating with, and which included hiding listening devices in Singh's car.
Today Singh appeared with his brother Craig, 20; Mark MacDonald, 26; Shane Faife, 25; Justin Brown, 28; Joseph McDonald, 27, all from Gateshead, and Peter Chisholm, 27, of Deerbush, West Denton, Newcastle, at Newcastle Crown Court.
They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal on the day their trial was due to begin.
Tony Hawks, defending Singh, said he would serve a "double sentence" in prison because he was a police officer.
Passing sentence, Judge Esmond Faulks told the Pc: "You have let everybody down, not just yourself and your family, but the general public and the police whose reputation for integrity and honesty you have tarnished."
Singh was jailed for six years and his younger brother was sent to a young offenders institution for 12 months.
Mark MacDonald was jailed for four and a half-years, Brown was jailed for three and a half years, while Faife and Chisholm were each sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
Sentencing of Joseph McDonald was adjourned until Jan 19