Sunderland police officer was 'man on the inside' for drugs gang, court told

A police officer has gone on trial accused of helping a major drugs gang avoid detection.

Tuesday, 7th March 2017, 4:33 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:51 am
Gary Christie

Intelligence officer Gary Christie is alleged to have accessed Northumbria Police computers to get information about the gang for its leader, Asa Dobbing.

The two men were close friends, socialising with each other at the same time as Asa Dobbing and his brother Aidan Dobbing were masterminding the bringing kilos of cocaine from the south of England to Sunderland, a jury heard.

"It is the Crown's case that Christie was Asa Dobbing's man," prosecutor Nick Dry told Teesside Crown Court.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"The conspirators were keen to avoid detection, using dirty phones, different couriers and cars, regularly changing meeting points.

"A man on the inside was an asset to them, particularly at difficult times such as when drugs were seized, or when arrests were made.

"Christie, who was based at Boldon police station, accessed intelligence for no legitimate policing purpose.

"Asa Dobbing would have known his requests would reveal his own involvement in the conspiracy to Christie, but he went ahead with them such was the trust between the two men."

The jury heard Asa and Aidan Dobbing, and a number of other men and women, have been convicted of conspiring to supply class A drugs at earlier hearings.

"One of those conspirators was a man called Jamie Malloy," said Mr Dry. "He was arrested carrying a kilo of cocaine in his car.

"After this arrest there was significant telephone traffic between Asa Dobbing and Christie.

"We say it is a fair inference to draw that Asa Dobbing wanted to know what the police knew."

The jury heard police computer records showed Christie made a search for the name Jamie Malloy.

"Within minutes there were further phone calls between Asa Dobbing and Christie," added Mr Dry. "The extent of their general involvement together can be gauged by a text message in which Christie agrees to obtain a covert camera for Asa Dobbing, to help him with some problems he was having at his Aspect Garage business in Sunderland.

"The text from Christie reads: 'Yes, mum's the word though, shouldn't really do it'.

"In the event, no camera was provided."

A police colleague of Christie's told the jury he warned Christie to 'steer clear' of Aidan Dobbing.

"I had seen some intelligence relating to Aidan Dobbing being involved in dealing drugs," said Detective Inspector Paul Stewart.

"I was friendly with Gary Christie, and told him it would be best to keep his distance.

"We might have talked about it two or three times, but he always maintained he did keep his distance, and I accepted that."

Christie, 42, of Silksworth Lane, Sunderland, denies misconduct in public office, and conspiracy to supply class A drugs between August 2012, and April, 2014.

Dobbing, 37, of Ryhope Grange Court, Sunderland, denies aiding abetting a person to commit misconduct in public office between the same dates.

The court heard Christie made no reply during his first police interview, but later told investigating officers he had been tricked by Dobbing in relation to the computer search for Jamie Malloy.

Christie said he thought he was helping Dobbing with a difficult tenant of one of Dobbing's rental properties.

The trial is expected to take two weeks.