A DISGRACED former police officer could be facing jail after admitting stealing thousands of pounds’ worth of items from the Dorset Police store to sell.

Peter Yeates, of Gravel Hill, Poole, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft by an employee yesterday.

Yeates, 51, who recently retired as a detective sergeant from Dorset Police, has admitted stealing two Fujifilm Finepix digital cameras worth a total of around £65, a Casio Exilim digital camera costing £26.47, and a number of mobile phones worth no more than £5,000 on dates between 2009 and 2012. The items were stolen from Ferndown and elsewhere in Dorset.

He pleaded not guilty to a fifth count of stealing 32 iPods, 18 cameras, three mobile phones, a Sony Walkman and an MP3 player worth £2,683.53 between June 1, 2010 and December 3, 2011.

Judge Ian Pearson said Yeates may be looking at prison time for the thefts.

He said: “Bearing in mind the nature and number of these thefts, a custodial sentence may have to be considered.”

He said the total cost of the thefts amounted to “around half” of the original total the Crown Prosecution Service hoped to recover, which was £12,500 in December last year.

Ian Lawrie QC, defending, asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared because of the ‘complex background’ of the case.

When Yeates appeared at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court in December, Charles Night-ingale, prosecuting, said it was alleged that the items, which were due to be scrapped, were intended to be sold to a third-party company that buys second-hand phones. Yeates was released on unconditional bail, and will appear for sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, May 17.