A Bedfordshire police officer who defrauded a cleaner out of more than £30,000 has been jailed for five years.
PC Paul Whitehead, 32, targeted the victim after hearing he had inherited a large amount of money, claiming to need the cash as a ‘loan’ to help a relative battling alcoholism.
He misused the police computer to find his address, then visited him at home and encouraged him to transfer large sums of money totalling £31,200.
The victim went to Bedfordshire Police in October 2015 after he was concerned Whitehead would not pay the money back.
Officers found Whitehead had only £740 left in his account and research showed he had paid £7,767 to debt agencies, paid for an expensive holiday and had lost thousands gambling.
He pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and computer misuse at Cambridge Crown Court on the first day of his trial (October 17).
He had been a police officer for 13 years.
He was sentenced to five years for fraud, six months for computer misuse and one month for failing to appear at a hearing in June.
All sentences will run consecutively.
Assistant chief constable Mike Colbourne, said: “Paul Whitehead’s conduct in this matter, targeting a vulnerable man, befriending him and then defrauding him out of thousands of pounds is totally unacceptable.
“We expect our officers to act with the utmost integrity so it is particularly disappointing that a member of our workforce has behaved in this way.
“We simply will not tolerate those who think it is acceptable to take advantage of others. We acted swiftly once we received the allegations and we are pleased he has now been brought to justice.”