A POLICE sergeant has denied claims that a corrupt officer was used as a scapegoat to cover the ills of his unit, a court heard.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told Sgt David Kehoe led the Bolton Drugs Unit when PC Phil Berry was arrested on charges of misconduct.

He was being cross-examined by barrister Nigel Edwards, who questioned him about the integrity of his unit yesterday.

The court heard that 66 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine had gone missing during one operation.

But Sgt Kehoe said that the drugs had been kept away from the property store “because of the nature of the ongoing operation and its sensitivity”.

He said they had been taken to a forensics laboratory and a problem arose when it was discovered that the drugs had been booked-in twice and a log had been duplicated.

The jury had previously heard that PC Berry, aged 42, of Oldstead Grove, Deane, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, sold highly sensitive information to an alleged drug dealer, in return for cash and gifts.

Sgt Kehoe said a lot of investigations resulted in the “fallout” of Berry’s arrest.

He said many officers were questioned by both the major incident team and the Greater Manchester Police internal affairs unit.

But barrister Mr Edwards said: “I think Berry was used as a scapegoat for all the ills of your particular unit when he was arrested for fraud.”

To that, Sgt Kehoe replied: “No”.

Sgt Kehoe was being questioned at the trial of Gary Knox, aged 34, of Seathwaite Road, Farnworth.

Knox who denies conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.

Six other defendants deny conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

They are Philip Meiring, aged 33, of Dickenson Street, Bolton; Gail Hadfield, aged 27, of Stanley Road, Heaton; Francis Hunt, aged 41, of Spindlewood Road, Ince; Joanne Greaves, aged 37, of Whittle Grove, Bolton; Anthony Grainger, aged 33, of Chipping Road, Bury, and Jamie Sewart, aged 31, of Tiverton Walk, Bolton.

The case continues.