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Suspended terms for gun sale Durham Police officers

Two Durham police officers who sold on guns which had been handed in to the force for safe disposal have been given suspended prison sentences.

Pc Maurice Allen, 47, and Pc Damien Cobain, 41, had admitted misconduct.

The pair were arrested in February 2009 when officers investigating a gun theft were told it had been bought from police.

Allen was sentenced to 51 weeks, which was suspended for two years, and Cobain to 40 weeks, suspended for 18 months.

'Lax' measures

The pair were suspended from the force when the investigations began.

It was conducted by Durham Police's professional standards department under the supervision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Allen, of Houghton le Spring, had nearly 29 years' police service, while Cobain, of Sunderland, had been with the force for eight years.

In sentencing the pair, the judge at Newcastle Crown Court criticised the arrangements for gun registration that had been in place at Durham Constabulary.

He described them as "extremely lax, if not chaotic".

Durham Police said it had since tightened up procedures.

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