Shamed drugs cop Chris McGinn begins jail sentence


By Michael MacLeod

A SCOTS drugs cop choked back tears as he was jailed for 26 months after being sniffed-out by his own colleagues as a cocaine dealer with a £520 per month snorting habit.

Last moment of freedom: McGinn arrives at court
Last moment of freedom: McGinn arrives at court

Shamed ex-police officer Christopher McGinn gave his pals lines of coke in exchange for pints of beer in pub toilets.

The 29 year-old would use an iTunes card to line up the Class-A drug for himself and pals “akin to a round of drinks.”

And when he was exposed by fellow officers at Lothian and Borders Police, he desperately begged them to brush his case under the carpet.

He pleaded: “I’m a cop too. Lose it for me. Lose it for me please.”

But McGinn had been under covert surveillance for a year and saw no alternative but to resign from the force after eight years.

He claimed today (Fri) that being caught forced him to tackle his filthy habit and admitted he had “brought shame on the force.”

But Sheriff Roderick MacLeod told him: “You were serving police officer at the time and therefore you were duty bound to uphold the values expected by society instead of subverting them.”

McGinn’s eyes filled with tears as he was frog-marched to the cells by a prison guard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, while relatives sobbed in the public gallery.

Last month he admitted supplying the Class-A drug at Musselburgh’s Ship Inn pub over a 12-month period from October 2007.

Pub toilet drug parties

He also confessed to illegally looking up his friends on a high-security police database, some of whom later grassed him up as a dealer.

Cops heard about McGinn’s pub toilet drug parties in 2007 and an undercover probe was launched.

They pounced when he had been off work sick for around five weeks shortly after being seconded to the force’s own drugs unit.

Scouring his former home in Prestonpans, East Lothian, detectives found two sets of digital scales, two straws and an iTunes card, all smeared with cocaine.

Even McGinn’s Ford Fiesta had traces of white powder on the steering wheel and glove box.

He was suspended from the force following his arrest that day and resigned on September 11.

McGinn, who joined the police in May 2000, was losing money to drugs and felt “relieved” when he was caught, according to defence agent David O’Hagan.

He said: “He had a habit and that was restricted to social settings when he was out to the pub.

“If he was in the company of the people named in the charges one person may go to the toilet and put out more than one line and the other person would then go in and do that.

“It was akin to a round of drinks and it was quite clear this was being reciprocated by others.

“The authorities scrutinised very closely Mr McGinn’s finances and it was clear that rather than making any money, this was crippling him financially as his cocaine use increased over time.”

“Leading a double life”

Mr O’Hagan also revealed McGinn referred himself to a drugs counsellor last year after his “double life” made work “stressful.”

He said: “He accepts he has brought shame on the force and he has paid for this with his job and in doing so, not only has he sacrificed his salary but also significant pension contributions at a time he was struggling financially due to his habit.

“He was finding work stressful and his mood was darkening over time and it got worse when his father was diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately his way of dealing with it was to drink heavily and begin to misuse cocaine at weekends.

“He found himself leading a double life having to keep his lifestyle from his family, his wife and employers.

“It was almost a relief was this was discovered as it brought things into the open and it forced him to deal with matters.”

Sheriff MacLeod said: “I have listened to everything said on your behalf and I do not find, I’m afraid to say, anything of an exceptional nature which would justify anything other than a custodial sentence.

“In your case the circumstances are aggravating factors, rather than mitigating circumstances.”

A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police and the communities we serve demand the highest standards of honesty and integrity from our officers and staff.

“Christopher McGinn failed to meet these standards, became involved in criminality and abused his position as a police officer.

“When he was arrested in connection with this matter, he was immediately suspended and has subsequently resigned from the Force.

“He had previously admitted a number of offences relating to the supply of controlled drugs, attempting to pervert the course of justice and data protection. He was sentenced to 26 months imprisonment – a sentence which sends a strong message to any person who deals drugs.

“The public can be reassured that Lothian and Borders Police will rigorously investigate any information which suggests that a member of staff is involved in any form of criminality.”

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