Beds, Herts & Bucks

Man jailed in Luton for selling stolen passports to police

This 'n' That shop in Luton
Image caption Undercover police ran the This 'n' That shop in Luton

A man who was caught selling stolen passports and bank cards to a fake shop set up by Bedfordshire Police has been jailed for 14 months.

James Lake, 35, of Cranborne Avenue, Hitchin, received £435 for stolen items sold on his behalf at the This 'n' That shop in the High Town area of Luton.

Undercover officers paid up to £150 for passports and £20 for bank cards.

At Luton Crown Court, Lake admitted six counts of fraud, handling stolen goods and possessing identity documents.

The court heard that Lake was arrested as part of Operation Generous, which ran between June last year and February.

Sentencing him, judge Stuart Bridge said Lake sold 23 items to the undercover officers to help pay for an "intractable" addiction to class A drugs.

"It is clear there is a need for intensive support on your release," he said.

"You are at a very high risk of re-offending unless your drug problems are resolved."

The court heard how Lake had 21 convictions for 53 previous offences.

Stephen Halloran, mitigating, said Lake's offending only lasted about a week and he had planned to work "at sea" to enforce abstinence from drink and drugs.

Bedfordshire Police said it was still in the process of talking to a "significant number" of people in relation to the operation.

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