A policeman who tipped off his criminal friends about secret investigations conducted by West Midlands Police has been jailed.

Pc Roger Gellion was trapped trying to warn two brothers that police were preparing to question them.

The 40- year- old, of Southfield Avenue, Castle Bromwich, was caught when his colleagues mounted a " sting" operation.

Gellion, based at Chelmsley Wood, twice tipped off brothers Gary and Paul McDonagh that police had intelligence on them, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of misconduct in a public office and two charges of possession of ammunition and was jailed for four years and three months.

Prosecuting, Amjad Malik said Gellion was an intelligence officer responsible for gathering and collating information on criminals in the Chelmsley Wood area. "He would have had knowledge of ongoing and pending police operations," he said.

Gellion knew Paul McDonagh socially as they drank together in a Castle Bromwich club, their wives were friends and their children went to the same school. Through his work as an intelligence officer he knew Paul McDonagh was a "known and active criminal" and he also met his brother Gary, the court heard.

Mr Malik explained that in August 2003 Gellion's colleagues at Chelmsley Wood CID came across information that Paul McDonagh's Fiat Brava may have been used in an armed robbery in Coleshill.

Using the name of a colleague, Gellion checked it out on the Police National Computer and then rang McDonagh.

"Later McDonagh reported the car stolen and it was found burnt-out and any forensic evidence had been destroyed," Mr Malik said. Gellion was arrested in September 2004 when the force's anti-corruption unit set a trap for him.

An officer from the unit posed as a detective from South Wales Police and contacted Gellion.