1. ITV Report

Addicted to heroin in the line of duty, says former cop

Robert Carroll, Photo: MEN Syndication

An ex undercover drugs officer who blamed Greater Manchester police for his heroin addiction is suing the force.

Robert Carroll, 41, has launched a civil case against his former employers, claiming his habit began after a police training exercise designed to familiarise officers with the drug.

The former constable says he and other officers were encouraged to inhale heroin smoke and became high during the exercise in 2008.

Carroll spoke to the M.E.N. after he was released from prison on licence four months into a 14-month jail sentence for misconduct in a public office.

He said: “I felt ill when I walked out of there. They encouraged us to smell the smoke. That was pretty much the start of my downfall. Ultimately, I had a breakdown. I’m angry, angry at GMP. Basically they let me down. When I joined they said it was a big family."

He says he regrets pleading guilty at court, and claims he only did so as part of a ‘deal’ to protect his police officer wife.

The married father-of-four, originally from Ashton-Under-Lyne but now living in West Yorkshire, said he eventually became Lee Taylor - his ‘smackhead’ alter ego and was smoking heroin every day.

The officer said he helped jail an estimated 200 drug dealers during his career undercover.

Yet his downward spiral was so complete that by the end he had become a ‘smackhead’.He said: “I honestly wanted to die. I was very matter-of-fact about it.

His fall from grace was described as a ‘personal tragedy’ by Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy.

He says dealers ordered him to put wraps of heroin he had purchased in his mouth as he left drugs dens in case police officers moved in and he would have to swallow the packages.

He claims his senior officers became ‘more reckless’ when they formed a new unit, codenamed Sigma, to tackle drug-pushers. After being jailed, Carroll said he had to go undercover all over again to save himself from violence from police-hating inmates.

He was sent to HMP Wayland in Lincolnshire. It was the closest prison without inmates he had helped to jail.

A GMP spokesman said: “GMP is aware of legal proceedings brought against the force by former police officer Robert Carroll.

"As these proceedings are ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further.”