A JUDGE has praised the bravery of police officers who set up and ran an undercover "sting" aimed at catching drug dealers on a Huddersfield estate.
Faced with a growing drugs problem in Lockwood, police showed "commendable ingenuity" in opening a shop called Elite Alloys and making it known they were interested in buying drugs, said Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC.
Caught in the net was 22-year-old Curtis Collins, who appeared at Bradford Crown Court yesterday for sentence.
Collins, of Arthur Grove, Woolwich, London, had pleaded guilty to charges of supplying and offering to supply controlled drugs.
Adjourning sentence until Friday, the judge told him: "You readily engaged with the officers and indicated you were prepared to put deals together.
"The police were compelled to establish the shop, at massive expense and not without its dangers for the brave officers who ran it."
Gerald Hendron, prosecuting, said that in September 2005 Collins went into the shop with another man and began haggling about the price of some alloy wheels.
It was suggested that Collins would sell the undercover officer some strong cannabis at a reduced price.
Almost a week later, the officer called Collins and a price for some cannabis bush was agreed.
Collins also said he could get him some Ecstasy.
The next month, following another phone conversation in which the officer said he wanted some good quality cocaine, Collins confirmed by text that he was able to supply it.
They met in Bradford, where a medicine bottle containing a white powder was handed over in exchange for £700.
The powder turned out to be flour, with slight traces of cocaine in it.
Adrian Strong, mitigating, said his client had not chased the deals. His father was serving a substantial prison sentence for drug offences.
"It was a black undercover officer and he was doing a favour for a fellow black man," added Mr Strong.
With the last deal, Collins had decided he was going to rip off the officer and he had sold him 79p worth of flour at a cost of £700.
He used that money to leave Huddersfield and move to London, where he found a job with his uncle, working in a garage.