Police officer who dishonestly scanned 7p carrot barcode to get donuts is sacked

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An on-duty police officer who dishonestly scanned a seven pence barcode for carrots to get a £9.95 box of Krispy Kreme donuts has been sacked for gross misconduct.

Pc Simon Read claimed at a disciplinary hearing that he made an honest mistake at the self-service tills at Tesco Extra in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire but a panel ruled that his explanation was “lacking in credibility”.

The Cambridgeshire police officer was in uniform when he purchased four items from the store – the tray of 12 donuts, the carrots, a sandwich and a drink – on February 10 this year.

He scanned the carrots barcode twice and failed to scan the donuts barcode, paying around £4 for the items instead of about £14.

PC Simon Read police misconduct hearing
Cambridgeshire Police officer Simon Read has been dismissed without notice for gross misconduct (Joe Giddens/ PA)

A manager at Tesco later alerted police to reports of a “suspicious police officer at its store” and the matter was investigated, Thursday’s hearing in Peterborough was told.

Read on...

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Sharmistha Michaels, the legally-qualified chair of the disciplinary panel, said: “On the balance of probabilities we are satisfied that Pc Read did intentionally scan the wrong barcode.”

Read claimed he had not checked the screen of the self-service till, but CCTV showed him looking at it to select his method of payment, Michaels said.

The officer had stuck the carrots barcode to the donuts box, on the same side as its barcode, she said.

She added that if he intended to pay the correct price he could have checked that he scanned the right barcode.

If it was a “genuine mistake” he had opportunities to put it right, she said, including when his contactless payment failed and he had to use chip and pin instead.

PC Simon Read police misconduct hearing
Krispy Kreme donut cabinet in the Tesco Extra store in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire (Joe Giddens/ PA)

The panel concluded that Read breached professional standards of honesty and integrity and that this amounted to gross misconduct.

Michaels said: “The officer’s behaviour has undermined public confidence in the police.”

She said Read’s actions were “incompatible with his role as a police officer” and he was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct.

Lawyer Mark Ley-Morgan, who set out the misconduct case, said it was “an officer effectively stealing while in uniform”.

“He was using his uniform as cover,” said Ley-Morgan.

PC Simon Read police misconduct hearing
A Krispy Kreme donut van outside a Tesco Extra store in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire (Joe Giddens/ PA)

Read has a right to appeal against the panel’s decision.

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  • Show Comments
    1. What of all the death’s in custody? It’s ok to beat up striking miners, kettle students and any other legitimate demonstrators (all demonstrations have to be ‘approved’ by the police), kill people trying to cross roads during car chases (races). Perhaps his apparent arrogance was a result that our police service of old has shed its Dixon of Dock Green image for that of an Internal Security Service (which of course protects the State from the People). Welcome to the other side of Empire.

      1. Well said, lanterndude. You don’t pick up a box of doughnuts for £9. 95 and then not wonder why the bill is £4.00.
        A thief is still a thief, whatever uniform he is wearing. If he really needed help he could have gone to a foodbank.

    2. This bent copper is a drop in the ocean. I was ‘fitted up’ 63 yrs ago when 15. My barrister paid for by a friend of my mother, tied the PC in knots about evidence & the JP stopped the case with ‘There is no case to answer – this young man is free to go’ & I learned that the police were not to be trusted.
      Experience has shown me they only look after themselves like MPs & politicians do.

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