TWO corrupt St Helens police officers have begun combined jail terms of more than 11 years.
And a court heard how one of them used his son as a “shield” to run his drug-dealing operation - telling him “there’s no future in being honest”.
PC Paul Fletcher, 46, also abused his trusted position by feeding information to underworld criminals - telling a gun charge suspect how to frustrate a police investigation and revealing the identity of a police informant.
Jailing Fletcher for seven-and-a-half years, Mr Justice Henriques said: “You have inflicted incalculable damage to the reputation of the police.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Fletcher tried to keep a safe distance from his drug-dealing operation by turning his 26-year-old son, also called Paul Fletcher, into a criminal.
Fletcher Snr, of Downall Green Road, Wigan, who had been in the force for 20 years, also arranged a drug deal with St Helens police sergeant Paul Hornby, 43 - formerly an “officer of distinction”.
Fletcher’s supply chain also included his cousin, shot putter Carl Fletcher, 28, and semi-professional rugby player Terry Bridge 23.
The judge also told Fletcher Snr he had jeopardised the safety of others by passing on confidential information he had accessed on police computers.
Fletcher Snr admitted six offences of supplying controlled drugs and offences of misconduct.
David McLachlan, prosecuting, said Fletcher Snr’s secret double-life was exposed after Merseyside’s professional standards unit placed him under surveillance - planting a recording device in his car, while an undercover officer befriended him.
Between December 2010 and February 2011, Fletcher repeatedly arranged to supply banned steroids, testosterone and other class C drugs to the undercover bobby.
Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said Fletcher Snr had got involved in a trade he despised and the only explanation he could give that he had become “desensitised” and was struggling financially.
He told how the former officer felt “deeply ashamed.”
The secret recording device also picked up Fletcher Snr revealing that he was “getting orders” from Hornby - a police officer of 26 years.
Examination of Hornby’s phones later showed him requesting for a drug price list from Fletcher. Father-of-two Hornby, of Bembridge Court, Winstanley, was jailed for three years and nine months after admitting one offence of possessing class C drugs with intent.
Jailing Fletcher Jnr for 14 months, Mr Justice Henriques said it was clear he had been led by his father.
Fletcher Jnr, of Richmond Hill, Wigan, admitted six charges of supplying class C drugs.
Ian Morris, defending, said Fletcher Jnr was loyal to his father and had become depressed by his own financial struggles.
Carl Fletcher, 28, of Old Road, Ashton, was jailed for nine months after admitting selling steroids from his shop, Flecks.
His barrister, Adam Lodge, said the talented shot-putter foolishly resorted to using the drugs after failing to be selected for the Commonwealth Games.
And Oldham rugby league player Terry Bridge, 23, of Poplar Avenue, Wigan, was jailed for 10 months for using his shop, Advanced Nutrition, as a front to sell steroids and supply them to both Fletchers.
Peter Davies, defending, said his client had a semi-professional career and an optimistic future.
Hornby resigned from the police last Friday and Fletcher Snr is now subject to police disciplinary proceedings.