Teenager caught in police sting

A TEENAGER who stole 14 footballs and sold them to an undercover police shop in Ipswich is today among the latest crop of criminals to have faced justice after a massive sting operation.

A TEENAGER who stole 14 footballs and sold them to an undercover police shop in Ipswich is today among the latest crop of criminals to have faced justice after a massive sting operation.

They appeared before magistrates in the town on Thursday after being arrested during raids carried out by 250 police officers earlier this month which targeted drug dealers and suspected thieves.

Paul Smith, of Stanhope Road, Snape, pinched the footballs, valued at around �150, from the back of a stolen van and unwittingly sold them to a shop which had been set by police to snare crooks.

He also took in a car stereo and a sat nav to the store in Norwich Road last September.

The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods and one charge of travelling as a passenger in the stolen van. He was due to be sentenced at another hearing.

The shop also enticed Shaun Mills into handing over two laptops stolen from schools, an iPod and a handheld computer in exchange for cash.

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Mills, of Kelly Road, Ipswich, admitted four charges of handling stolen goods and asked for offences involving five sat navs to be taken into consideration.

The 21-year-old father-of-three was granted unconditional bail until his sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court on a date to be set.

A parallel operation conducted in the drugs world also caught a number of offenders red-handed.

Diggory Warren, of St Matthew's Street, Ipswich, was busted selling Class A drugs to an undercover officer in January this year.

Then cops found more Class A drugs and cannabis when they executed a search warrant at the 33-year-old's home in June.

Warren pleaded guilty to four charges and has been committed to the crown court at a later date.

He has been released on bail on the condition that his passport is held by police.

Andrew Nicoll, of Little Gipping Street, Ipswich, was also caught when he sold a wrap of “heroin” for �20 which the officer later discovered was two pieces of paper.

Nicoll, 26, was handed a 20-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to undertake a 12-months of community supervision after admitting offering to supply heroin in February this year.

Several others either pleaded not guilty or did not enter pleas to various similar charges and will be dealt with at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court at later dates.

Are drugs and thefts a problem in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk