Detective jailed and dismissed over blackmail

Gareth Suffling policeman who was jailed for blackmail
Gareth Suffling policeman who was jailed for blackmail

A former Beds Police officer has been jailed after admitting he tried to blackmail a man for using a prostitute in Luton.

Gareth Suffling, 35, was working as a detective constable when he wrote a letter to the victim demanding £1,000 to stop his family, friends and work colleagues from being told about his activities.

Suffling, who was 
dismissed from the force without notice for gross 
misconduct, following a 
special case hearing last month, was jailed for a total of 18 months.

The court heard how the victim contacted police in March after receiving the threat which was packaged up with photographs of him visiting a motorhome used by the prostitute in Sedgewick Road eight days earlier.

An investigation was launched by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit and it was quickly 
discovered that Suffling had used the Police National Computer to carry out a registered owner’s check on the victim’s vehicle.

Further investigations revealed Suffling had been in contact with the prostitute on March 16 to find out where she would be on that day, and CCTV put his vehicle near to the victim’s home when the demand letter was delivered.

Suffling was arrested and suspended the following day (March 25).

He pleaded guilty to 
blackmail and misconduct in a public office and was 
sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Monday.