Published: 14:00, 01 December 2016
An officer who stole police equipment was collared when detectives took to eBay to find the missing items.
PC Paul Withrington had been stealing for two years and stolen gear was found in his police van and even his lunch box, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
Withrington, of The Farrows, Maidstone admitted taking equipment worth nearly £16,000 and was today jailed for a year.
Judge James O’Mahony told him: “If you can’t trust a police officer then who can you trust?”
Prosecutor Robert De Banzie told how officers became concerned after items, including combat trousers, torches, CDs, a satnav and other items had vanished from police stations.
“Police decided when an LED torch had been stolen they would check eBay. One was being sold by a user called ‘Paul1981With’ from a Sittingbourne address. Other checks showed the account owner was Paul Withrington.”
The 35-year-old, based at Medway, was arrested and immediately confessed.
The disgraced officer has since been sacked from the force.
Mr De Banzie said, the officer set up other eBay accounts to help boost bids on the items for sale, which helped him net £5,761.
“He was unable to offer an explanation for his behaviour; he had no financial problems and told officers he wanted to give no excuses.”
Caroline Harris, defending, said Withrington had served with the police for 11 years and had received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. She added that he had received thanks from the victims of bereavement after acting as a liaison officer.
He now has a job in car sales and has taken part in marathons and mountain climbs to raise money for charities.
“He is truly sorry for what he has done and is concerned about the effect on his wife and young child.”
But Judge O'Mahony said it had been "a systematic and determined theft of police property.. paid for, ultimately, by taxpayers."
More by this authorPaul Hooper