Former Norfolk policeman jailed

Christine CunninghamA former Norfolk police officer's career was in ruins after he was jailed for 10 months for fraud by a judge who said that he had 'let down the force'.Christine Cunningham

A former Norfolk police officer's career was in ruins after he was jailed for 10 months for fraud by a judge who said that he had 'let down the force'.

Great Yarmouth-based PC Simon Hood, 43, pretended his Audi TT car was stolen and made a false insurance claim.

Hood and his co-defendant Peter Marsh, 41, had denied fraud, but a Norwich Crown Court jury had found them both guilty and they appeared for sentence yesterday.

The court heard that Hood, who had been a serving officer for fourteen-and-a-half years had already lost a lot as a result of the offences as he had resigned from Norfolk police and his pension was also in jeopardy.

During the trial, the court heard that Hood claimed his car had been stolen from outside Gorleston police station and made false representation to the Royal Bank of Scotland acting on behalf of Tesco Insurance between March 12 and May 31 last year.

It was alleged that Hood had wanted to sell the car which he bought in 2008, but had been disappointed when it took a dive in value.

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He then arranged with his friend Marsh of Tillett Close, Ormesby, near Great Yarmouth for the car to be disposed of. Parts of it were later found encased in bubble wrap at Ace Tyre and Exhaust Centre in Suffolk Road, Great Yarmouth, which is owned by Marsh.

Jailing Hood, Judge Alasdair Darroch said: 'As a police officer you know the highest possible standards are demanded by the public.

'You have let down the force. You knew throughout your career that policemen that get involved in serious dishonesty get sent to prison.'

Marsh was given six months jail suspended for two years and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work. Judge Darroch told him he accepted his actions had been to offer misguided help to a friend.

Michael Clare, for Hood. said: 'It is not a case where his position as a police officer was used in order to facilitate the fraud.'

He said Hood had been a police officer for more than 14 years and had an impeccable record.

Mr Clare said Hood had since resigned and had sought employment as a plumber. 'His career is in ruins,' he added.

He said Hood had already received a great deal of punishment and his police pension was in jeopardy.

Richard Potts, for Marsh, said he had also suffered knock-on consequences since his conviction. He said his bank had withdrawn its overdraft facility and his insurance company was refusing to renew his contract when it runs out.

He said that Marsh's business employed 21 people and he did a lot to help the community including sponsoring Great Yarmouth In Bloom.