Police sting on Manchester scrap metal business branded ‘set-up’ as owner cleared

A failed undercover police sting on a Manchester scrapyard has seen a businessman cleared of any wrongdoing after the operation was branded ‘absolute garbage’.

Detectives posed as builders to tackle a black market in scrap metal, but target Gary Dolan, 44, was acquitted by the jury after just an hour.

Mr Dolan was initially arrested after repeated visits from officers who turned up to his scrapyard in the hope of selling him cable they believed would be classed as stolen.

The Bulldog Metals owner said he didn’t want to buy the cable but when he suggested the wire could be stripped, he and wife Sharon were arrested and also had their home raided.

Mr Dolan said: “This case has been absolute garbage from top to toe. When the officers came to my house they kicked my front door in and ransacked my home and then my office.

“They were even taking old payslips from years and years ago. I don’t know what they expected to find.”

“The fact is the police set me up. They seemed to be typical construction lads and arrived in a flatbed pick-up truck. There was a few of them and they were all wearing hi-vis vests and rigger boots.

“They were effing and blinding and full of banter, so I didn’t have any doubts that they were genuine workers.”

He was subsequently charged with attempting to receive stolen goods and was on bail for 18 months until a jury cleared him in only an hour after a trial costing taxpayers £100,000.

The failed trial follows two others in which six other scrap dealers were also cleared. 

During one case the trial judge accused the undercover officers of ‘wearing down’ their suspects into accepting what appeared to be stolen cable.

“This case was a joke and shouldn’t have come anywhere near court and was a waste of everyone’s time,” Mr Dolan added.

“Proper research should have been done before police went out on a covert operation like that. They took the word of BT and wasted a shed load of taxpayers money.”

His wife, also 44, added: “I’ve never known anything like the aggression they showed. I’ve known drug suppliers get treated fairer and it was all for show.”

Last October Paul Dawson, Gary Ogden, and Gary Young, all of Bolton, were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Dave Day, and his father Terence, who run Greengate Metals in Middleton along with Billy Dillon, were cleared by a jury in a separate trial.

Greater Manchester Police said: “We are aware that a judge has raised concerns about a policing tactic used in an operation to target metal theft dealers suspected of handling stolen metal.

“Following the Judge’s comments, the Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing other upcoming cases involved in this operation. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

Main image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.

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