Officer accused of making up crime

Kate ScotterThe ex-girlfriend of a Norfolk police officer told a jury how her former partner pretended his Audi TT was stolen to make a false insurance claim.Kate Scotter

The ex-girlfriend of a Norfolk police officer told a jury how her former partner pretended his Audi TT was stolen to make a false insurance claim.

Yarmouth officer Simon Hood, 43, went on trial at Norwich Crown Court yesterday charged with fraud.

It is alleged that from March 12 and May 31 last year, he made a false representation to the Royal Bank of Scotland acting on behalf of Tesco Insurance to make a gain by lying about the theft of the car.

The court heard how it is he allegedly concocted the plan with Peter Marsh, 41, of Tillett Close, Ormesby, near Yarmouth, who is also on trial. Both men deny the charge.

During the first day of the trial, jurors heard evidence from Hood's former girlfriend Suzanne Coates who claimed he confessed everything to her in a bid to rebuild their relationship.

She then went on to tell her sister, a police sergeant, her mum, a prison officer, and her best friend, a police officer, who then reported Hood to the police, sparking an investigation.

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Ambulance service worker Ms Coates said: "His daughter rang me on the day it had been stolen and I spoke to Simon about it. He said he was gutted.

"A few days later I jokingly said to him that I thought he had done it himself. Straightaway I thought it was suspicious. He had pointed it out earlier in the day to one of his work colleagues and he didn't want to look for it, he said it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, which I thought was a bit strange.

"A few days or a week later, he had been speaking to me about getting back together. I said he would have to be honest with me and would have to tell me the truth about what happened to the car.

"He said he did it but I couldn't tell anyone. He said he did it with Peter. Peter had a key and took the car away and it was going to be taken to bits and got rid of so it was never found."

It is claimed that Hood had wanted to sell his Audi TT, which he bought in 2008, but had been disappointed when it "took a dive in value".

He then "entered into an arrangement" with Marsh, who runs a motor trading business where cars can be scrapped.

Cross examining Ms Coates, Michael Clare, defending Hood, said: "My client says you are not telling the truth. He says that it's not true that he ever said to you that his car had not been stolen. He never said to you that he agreed with Mr Marsh to make a fraudulent insurance claim."

Ms Coates said: "I'm not lying. I'm telling the truth about what he told me."

It is alleged the car was stolen from outside Gorleston police station on March 13 last year. Hood is alleged to have been on duty at the time and had pointed the car out to a colleague earlier in the day. This was denied.

The trial continues.