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Vic cop jailed over drug dealer thefts

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 Kaitlyn Offer

Victorian policeman Brendan Nolan was sent to Fitzroy police station for mentoring. Instead, the young cop turned crooked after striking up a friendship with an older, drug-addicted officer.

Nolan, 30, was sentenced to three years' jail on Friday for stealing cash and drugs from drug dealers and taking casino chips from a woman in a housing commission flat.

He joined policeman David Branov in 2012 in targeting dealers to share the cash and get drugs to feed Branov's habit, the County Court heard.

Nolan graduated from the police academy in 2006 and was eventually moved to Fitzroy, a training station where less experienced officers receive mentoring.

That's where he met Branov, who "sounded out" Nolan on his attitude to police engaging in criminal behaviour after the two struck up a friendship, sentencing Judge Damian Murphy said.

Nolan, Branov and a third officer first targeted an elderly drug dealer on bail. They searched him, finding two foils of heroin.

Branov told the dealer it would cost him, and the dealer offered to prostitute his wife or daughter - but the policemen demanded cash.

They eventually got $3000, which they divided up at the casino.

On another occasion, Nolan took 70 grams of ice and 7g of cocaine from a dealer and subsequently stole them from an evidence lock-up and gave to Branov, who replaced them with substitutes.

Branov gave Nolan and the third officer $2000 cash, telling them he sold the drugs, but had used them himself.

In a third case, Nolan and Branov "brazenly" stole a woman's casino chips during a search of a drug dealer's Carlton housing commission flat when a sergeant was present, Judge Murphy said.

A jury found Nolan guilty of three counts of misconduct in public office after a 15-day trial.

Nolan's de facto partner Sarah Read, a serving police officer, told the court during a plea hearing on December 5 that he was a "very diligent and a good crook catcher" when they met in 2008.

Judge Murphy described Nolan's behaviour as "absolutely outrageous".

"You had a promising career in the police force but as a result of your own conduct, that has been lost," Judge Murphy said.

Wearing a white t-shirt and prison-green trackpants, Nolan was sentenced on Friday to three years' jail, backdated for the 11 days he's already spent in custody.

The former army reservist and CFA volunteer will have to serve one year and nine months before being eligible for parole.

Branov was sentenced in 2014 to at least two and a half years jail.

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